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Lynnmarie Johnson Lynnmarie Johnson, Attorney-at-Law Trust Lynnmarie
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Lynnmarie A. Johnson, JD, CPA
ATTORNEY-AT-LAW
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4488 W. Bristol Rd.
Flint, MI 48507
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Office: (810) 820-2791
Fax: (810) 820-2794
contact@trustlynnmarie.com



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Guardianship Or Conservatorship For An Adult

An elderly person who is having health problems can sign a Durable Power of Attorney as long as they understand what they are doing. There are problems where another person is abusing this document or where there is concern over finding someone who can handle finances. A person can override their Power of Attorney's actions or state that they are revoking the document. This can lead to problems with getting health care treatment or protecting his or her money.

Family members can file a request in probate court to have a "Guardian" appointed for the care of the person. This person is under the direction of the court and must follow court directions. The person who is sick cannot revoke their actions without going back to court to recover their legal rights. The same person or another person with more financial skills should be appointed the Conservator to take care of their finances if there are more than $5,000 in assets or significant income. The matter must be brought in Michigan Probate Court in the county where the person lives.

Once a family member decides that their relative is too ill because of age, injury, disease, or alcohol and/or drug problems, the process is simple. They need to have a letter by the person's medical provider sent to the court stating tow things: first, that they have reviewed the person's health records or treated them and that the person is unable to take care of their affairs; second, that they believe that the person needs a Guardian. All immediate relatives and a person who is their Power of Attorney must be notified of the hearing. An attorney is appointed to visit the person and to advise the judge whether or not they believe the person needs a Guardian. They also check to see if the ill person has any objections to the person who asked to be their Guardian.

The advantages of being a guardian or conservator is that there is more authority and that the ill person cannot change their mind and overrule the Guardian's decisions. The person must report to other family members what assets they are holding and about the person's health condition along with any changes. There is also a financial accounting at least once a year. Many times one person makes a great caretaker or guardian, but is not willing to pay the bills. This would be where another person would be appointed as their Conservator.

The disadvantage is that must declare the person so ill as to be legally incapacitated. This can be a difficult and emotional decision. Physical disability alone, as long as someone can assist them, is not a loss of legal capacity. There is a cost to filing in court and to provide the annual accountings, but it overcomes the temptation to spend money wrongfully.

It is a very good idea to consult an attorney for advice when a Durable Power of Attorney is signed or a Guardianship is considered. Many legal service plans furnish by employers will pay for this either for the relative agreeing to be Guardian or for the person needing help.


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Any information that you obtain at this site is not, nor is intended to be, legal advice. Before taking any action based on this information, you should first consult an attorney in your area about your specific situation. No Attorney-Client relationship is formed unless it is first agreed upon in writing.

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