Guardianship in Wisconsin
Guardianships and Conservatorships are used to protect a person and their finances in the event they suffer from a legal incapacity, such as Alzheimer’s, dementia or the effects of a severe accident involving a brain injury. These legal designations give authority to another party to make decisions involving medical, financial, investment and other decisions the individual is deemed incapable of making.
A guardianship allows a person to have custody over another person in a similar manner to that of a parent over a child. In guardianship cases, the court finds that the person is “incompetent” (typically because the person is either a minor or an adult with developmental disabilities) and is in need of a guardian to make all of their legal decisions. Guardians have very specific guidelines they must follow, including the duty to provide for care, comfort and maintenance (including food, clothing, shelter, health care, social and recreational requirements) for the incapacitated person in their care. They may also have a duty to provide training, education, habilitation or rehabilitation when necessary. Guardians must report to the Court every year and give a detailed account of how the protected person has been treated and how the protected person’s money was spent. Setting up a guardianship is not difficult, but maintaining it has become time consuming, difficult and fraught with issues. An experienced attorney can help you navigate through these issues.
A conservatorship is a mechanism for granting power over another’s financial estate. The conservator is tasked with the duty of handling the financial interests of the protected person. The conservator pays for the care, education and housing of the protected person out of the protected person’s estate. The conservator is also responsible for investing the protected person’s assets in accordance with his or her fiduciary obligations. Should the need arise to sell any real property, the conservator, with court supervision, may do so. Typically, conservatorships are utilized by families when one of the family members has special needs. Combined with a Special Needs Trust or a Supplemental Needs Trust, the protected person and the family can create a comprehensive estate plan for the protected person.
Contact Us for a Consultation With One of Our Guardianship and Conservatorship Lawyers
The actions of a guardian or conservator are far reaching and the appointment requires a court hearing and a background check. If you need assistance with a guardianship or conservatorship, contact us today. For a consultation with a highly skilled guardianship and conservatorship attorney at our firm, Doar, Drill & Skow, call 877-362-7529 toll free or contact us online. Located in New Richmond, we serve clients throughout western Wisconsin.