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Guardianship for adults with mental illness in Missouri

Guardianship for adults with mental illness in MissouriWhen a loved one is incapable of making intelligent decisions regarding his or her care, the court will assign a guardian to make decisions for the adult individual, known as a “ward.” An adult guardianship is suitable when the individual is unable to fulfill his or her basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, and safety) due to mental illness or disability, such that a serious accident is liable to happen.

Generally, guardianship and conservatorship refer to the designation of a person by the Probate Court to make most decisions concerning an adult person’s care and custody, as well as to manage and control their financial activities. Guardianship and conservatorship petitions are frequently filed at the same time with the Court.

Procedures for Obtaining Guardianship 

A legal process is used to place someone under guardianship or conservatorship. The following are the stages to obtaining Guardianship or becoming a Conservator for an individual:

  • To become a guardian or conservator, a person must file an application with the Probate Court.
  • After that, the Probate Judge must select an attorney to represent the person seeking guardianship or conservatorship.
  • A hearing must be held, during which the applicant must demonstrate that the individual for whom he wishes to be guardian or conservator truly requires that protection.
  • While it is not always necessary, a person seeking guardianship or conservatorship should typically do it with the advice of an attorney.

Anyone may be designated a guardian for an individual judged to be incompetent or disabled. However, the court usually gives immediate family members priority, and the person selected must have agreed to the appointment.

Guardianship Responsibilities 

  • To safeguard a loved one who is unable to care for themselves. For example, to safeguard a family member who refuses to take prescribed medications.
  • To protect oneself or others against significant harm, illness, or disease. For example, guardianship can be beneficial when a person is unable to feed himself or herself.
  • To offer a person who is unable to care for themself or their home with a safe and clean environment.

What is the difference between guardianship and conservatorship in Missouri?

Guardianship 

  • The legal procedure of evaluating a person’s capacity to make decisions about his personal affairs is known as guardianship (such as where he lives or the care he requires.)
  • A Guardian is a person appointed by the Probate Court to manage the affairs of someone who has been declared incapable, or unable to manage his or her own affairs.
  • Guardianship is the outcome of a court hearing that determines the need to appoint a person (guardian) to act in behalf of another individual (ward) who is unable to exercise his or her rights owing to disability or incompetence. The basis for establishing incapacity is that a person is functionally unable to look after themself or their property and is unable to convey decisions about such care.
  • Guardianship is the most severe restriction on a person’s ability to make decisions for themselves that a court can impose. The ward’s freedom to vote, choose where to live, obtain a driver’s license, approve medical procedures, sign contracts, and make other important decisions are automatically taken away.

Conservatorship 

  • Conservatorship is similar to guardianship but deals only with financial matters of an individual. It is not unusual for the guardian to also serve as conservator.
  •  A Conservator is a person or corporation appointed by the Probate Court to handle the financial dealings of a person who has been declared to be disabled, i.e., not capable of handling his own financial affairs.
  • The Conservator must report to and seek approval from the court for expenditures.

Guardianship Costs 

Attorney’s fees and court expenses are included in the cost of guardianship. An uncontested guardianship costs roughly $600 in court. Attorney fees vary widely, but for an uncontested guardianship, they are usually less than $1,000. Before you hire an attorney, make sure you have an estimate of the overall cost.

Contact us 

Disputes generally arise during guardianship decisions. If you need assistance with guardianship litigation, our attorneys have vast working experience in this area.

Call Shea Kohl Law today at (636) 946-9999 for your legal representation, or use this online contact form.

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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.