GUARDIANSHIP & CONSERVATORSHIP
NORTH LOUISIANA GUARDIANSHIP AND CONSERVATORSHIP LAWYER
Guardianship and Conservatorship Attorneys in Shreveport,
Bossier City, and the Surrounding Areas
At The Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, we offer dedicated legal services to the communities of Shreveport, Bossier City, and the surrounding areas. Our experienced lawyers understand the intricate and sensitive nature of these legal matters, and we are committed to providing comprehensive guidance and support to clients seeking assistance with guardianship and conservatorship issues.
With a focus on protecting the interests of vulnerable individuals and their families, we are here to navigate the legal complexities and ensure that our client’s rights are upheld throughout the process. To learn more, call Attorney Michael Vergis at (318) 698-3724 or use our online contact form to request a free consultation today.
Legal Guardianship in Louisiana
In Louisiana, legal guardianship is a legal process designed to protect individuals who are unable to make decisions or care for themselves due to various circumstances, such as incapacity or age.
Legal guardianship is typically sought for an individual, often called a ward, who needs assistance. A ward may be a minor, an adult with a developmental disability or mental illness, or an elderly individual.
How Legal Guardianship Works
The Uniform Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Other Protective Arrangements Act introduces a uniform definition of each legal relationship across the United States.
According to the Uniform Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Other Protective Arrangements Act (UGCOPAA), guardianship represents authority that is granted during a court hearing to take over the daily affairs of another person. When a guardian has authority over a ward’s financial affairs, the relationship title changes to conservatorship.
However, the definitions outlined by the UGCOPAA haven’t been adopted into all state laws. For example, Louisiana bar associations outline the term “curatorship” in place of the standard term, “conservatorship,” making the process of gaining guardianship/conservatorship even more confusing to Louisiana residents.
Conservatorship in Louisiana
Difference Between Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Curatorship
Under Louisiana law, guardianship, conservatorship, and curatorship are distinct and serve different purposes in providing protection and assistance to individuals who cannot manage their personal decisions and financial affairs.
Here are the key differences between a guardianship, a conservatorship, and a curatorship:
The purpose of guardianship is typically established to provide for the care, custody, and decisions related to the personal and physical well-being of an individual, often a minor or an incapacitated person. A guardian has authority over matters such as medical care, education, and living arrangements for the person under their care.
Guardianships are commonly established for minors when their parents cannot care for them due to health issues, mental illness, or other reasons. They can also be established for adults with a developmental disability or incapacities who need local assistance with personal care and decision-making.
A conservatorship is established to manage the financial affairs and assets of a person who cannot do so independently due to incapacity or disability. The conservator appointed is responsible for handling financial matters, including managing assets, paying bills, and making financial decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person.
A conservatorship is often created for an adult who is no longer capable of managing his or her affairs, such as individuals with dementia or severe cognitive impairments. So, this would not be imposed upon a competent adult.
While the term “conservatorship” is used in some states, in Louisiana, it is typically referred to as “tutorship.”
Curatorship is a legal arrangement in Louisiana designed to provide limited or local assistance to individuals without taking full control over their personal decisions or finances. Curators are typically appointed for specific purposes, such as managing a single transaction or handling a particular aspect of the individual’s affairs.
It offers a more tailored and flexible approach compared to guardianship or conservatorship. Curatorship is often established when a person may need assistance with a specific matter, such as a financial transaction or legal proceeding.
Even within Louisiana, the procedures and terminology may differ in different parishes. When considering any of these legal arrangements, it is essential to consult with an experienced guardianship or conservatorship attorney who is knowledgeable about Louisiana law and can guide you through the appropriate court process based on the specific legal issues at hand.
How To Have Someone Declared Mentally Incompetent in Louisiana
In Louisiana, having a person declared mentally incompetent or incapacitated is a legal process that involves several steps and requires adherence to specific legal procedures.
To initiate this process, concerned parties, such as a family member or caregiver, can file a petition with the appropriate court, typically the district court in the parish where the individual resides. The petition should outline the reasons why the person is believed to be mentally incompetent, providing evidence of their incapacity, such as medical and psychological evaluations.
Upon filing the petition, the court will appoint a curatorship or conservatorship attorney to represent the individual. The court will then schedule a hearing to assess the individual’s mental capacity.
If the court determines that the person is mentally incompetent and unable to manage their affairs, it may appoint a curator or guardian to make decisions on their behalf, depending on the specific circumstances and ability of the person in question.
It’s important to consult with curatorship or conservatorship lawyers experienced in Louisiana’s mental health and guardianship laws to navigate this court process effectively, as it involves complex legal procedures and requirements to protect the rights of the individual in question while ensuring their safety and well-being.
Louisiana Conservatorship/Guardianship FAQs
To establish legal guardianship in Louisiana, a potential legal guardian must initiate a court proceeding and petition the court for guardianship over the proposed ward. The court will carefully review the circumstances and assess whether guardianship is in the best interest of the ward.
The court's primary concern with adult guardianship is to ensure appointing a guardian will help the individual more than it would hurt them. If the court determines guardianship is the right choice, the appointed guardian or guardians must start by accepting guardianship.
From there, the guardian or guardians assume certain responsibilities, including making decisions related to the ward's finances, personal care, medical care, and living arrangements. The guardian or guardians are legally obligated to act in the best interest of the ward and must report to the court regularly.
In Louisiana, obtaining curatorship involves filing a petition with the court, demonstrating that the person lacks the capacity to make their own decisions independently. After filing, the court appoints an attorney to represent the individual and schedules a hearing to assess their capacity.
If the court determines that curatorship is necessary, a curator is appointed to manage the person's affairs in their best interests. Experienced legal help is crucial for navigating these legal issues while safeguarding the rights of the incapacitated person.
In Louisiana, individuals under guardianship can get married, but it typically requires court approval. The court will assess whether the person under guardianship has the capacity to understand the nature and consequences of marriage.
If the court does determine they are capable of making this decision, the court may grant permission for the marriage to proceed. However, the court's primary concern is to ensure the individual's best interests and protect them from potential exploitation or harm in adult situations, such as marriage.
In Louisiana, a curator, who is appointed to manage the affairs of a ward deemed incapable of handling his or her affairs, is generally required to reside within the state.
While there are some exceptions or special circumstances, such as an emergency, in which a guardian, conservator or other authority figure have the guardianship, curatorship, or conservatorship transferred, it is generally expected that a curator will reside in Louisiana to fulfill their duties effectively in compliance with Louisiana law.
In Louisiana, a curator appointed to manage the affairs of a ward typically does not have the authority to change or alter the individual's Will or Revocable Trust. Any changes or modifications to a Will or Revocable Trust document would typically require the involvement of the individual themselves, or in cases where the person lacks capacity, it may necessitate legal proceedings through the court, such as a request for a judicial interdiction.
It's important to consult with an experienced attorney and follow the appropriate legal processes when dealing with Wills and Trusts in such situations.
In Louisiana, the legal process of filing for curatorship typically involves complex legal procedures and requirements. While it is not mandatory to hire a lawyer to file for curatorship, it is highly recommended to seek experienced legal help.
An attorney can provide valuable guidance through any curatorship or conservatorship issues, as well as throughout the legal process. Attorneys can also help ensure that all necessary documents are prepared correctly and assist in meeting the legal requirements.
Given the intricacies of these proceedings and the potential impact on the individual's rights and well-being, having legal help can significantly improve the chances of a successful curatorship appointment.
In Louisiana, having Power of Attorney (POA) does not necessarily eliminate the need for a guardian.
While a Power of Attorney allows someone to make legal and financial decisions on behalf of another person, it is limited to the scope of authority granted within the POA document. Guardianship, on the other hand, is typically sought when someone is deemed legally incapacitated, often involving broader aspects of their life, such as personal care and medical decisions.
Whether or not a guardian is required depends on the specific circumstances, the extent of the individual's incapacity, and the terms of the POA. It's advisable to seek legal help from an attorney with experience in this area of law to determine the best course of action in each unique situation.
Call the North LA Guardianship and Conservatorship Lawyers at The Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis Today
At the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, we are dedicated attorneys serving North Louisiana who specialize in elder law and family law. With a strong commitment to advocating for the rights and well-being of individuals needing protection, we provide expert legal guidance and representation.
Whether it’s navigating the complexities of guardianship, conservatorship, or other related legal issues, our law firm is well-equipped to assist clients in the North Louisiana region. We encourage you to give us a call at (318) 698-3724 to get in touch with an experienced Bossier City family lawyer at our firm.