What the Judge Doesn't Tell You When Going to Court For Guardian Appointment
I recently went to court to become the legal guardian of an adult who is mentally incapacitated. When I was asked to take over for this person, I was overwhelmed at the thought. I had absolutely no idea what to do or where to begin. Since I knew that I didn’t know a thing about any of this I called social services in my area to find out who could assist me. I did not want to hire an attorney because in all honesty I could not afford one. The person I spoke to helped guide me through the paperwork and explained to me what all I had to do to become the legal guardian for an adult who was mentally incapacitated.
I filed the papers and a hearing was scheduled immediately so that I could become legal guardian. At the first hearing, the judge appointed me emergency guardian and set a date for the permanent guardian hearing. He also told me that I had to get a background check through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and a credit report. He informed me that the courts would appoint an atone for the person I was becoming guardian for and one who is an attorney representing the courts. I left the hearing thinking that all I had to do was get the background check done and credit report. I was very wrong.
The judge failed to tell me of many other things that had to take place before our next hearing. If I had not hired an attorney for some other issues and ha not had him jump on board with the legal guardian case, I would have entered the court room completely unprepared.
One of the most important parts of the hearing was to make sure that the person who I was becoming legal guarding for was present at the hearing whether in person or on the phone. My lawyer arranged for him to be present by phone. That was one of the most important parts of the hearing. I would not have done that on my own because no one told me it was necessary needed. I figured since the respondent was incapacitated, he didn’t need to be present.
When we entered the court room the attorney for the courts had not filed a required report which postponed the hearing by a week. If we had known that he was going to overlook this, we could have followed up with the courts to make sure someone had.
I am glad I hired an attorney for my case because if I had not it would have dragged out for months and I needed to be able to take care of things for the respondent.