Do I Need An Attorney To File For Guardianship?

I am often hired by people to help them file for guardianship over an aging parent or an adult child who is unable to care for themselves due to mental illness or intellectual disabilities. Sometimes when I am in the Court filing the papers, there are folks there who are filing for guardianship without an attorney. They get the forms from the clerks, they sometimes meet with the Attorney of the Day for help with the paperwork, and the clerks do their best to guide the people without being able to provide legal advice or extensive assistance. The people seeking guardianship obtain the medical certificates on their own, file the papers with the court, schedule the hearing date, make sure the necessary notices go out to the appropriate people, then show up for the hearing and talk to the judge on their own.

It’s completely possible to file a guardianship on your own, especially if it isn’t being contested by anyone. This works for people who like to do the footwork themselves, who have more time to do it or who don’t have the resources to hire an attorney for the entire process. Other people prefer to pay an attorney to do most of the work, and they just show up at the hearing. An in-between option is to hire an attorney for the limited purpose of assistance with the documents and education about the process but the attorney doesn’t file an appearance with the Court or go to the hearing.

I am always happy to work with families in whatever capacity they need to help them through the guardianship process – whether it is serving as an advisor on the sidelines or walking with them through the process every step of the way.

Tax Scam Phone Calls

With tax time fast approaching, there are more and more reports of telephone scams involving people claiming to be from the IRS and demanding payment of money over the phone. The IRS has a list of scams on their website, including the most recent telephone one. As they point out: Note that the IRS willContinue Reading

“My Kids Don’t Like to Talk About It.”

This is a common refrain of my clients when we are talking about their estate plans and I suggest that they talk to their adult children. If they are naming their children as their agents, they should talk to them to make sure they are prepared for that role. They should let their children knowContinue Reading

Action Items: Review Your Wills During Tax Time

If you are in the process of getting your financial paperwork in order to meet with your accountant, pull out your wills and other legal documents and take a look at those, too. Make sure the people you’ve named to help you are still available and the ones you still want to help you. CheckContinue Reading

The Cobbler’s Children And The Lawyer’s Father

I always tell my clients that it is better to talk with their families about their health care wishes ahead of time, before they land in the hospital. It gives you the time to really think about things, and to have the discussion at a time when no one is in crisis mode. So itContinue Reading

What kind of tree would you be?

Barbara Walters apparently once asked Katherine Hepburn what kind of tree she wanted to be. She was often mocked for this, but according to a wikipedia article, she was just following up on a comment by Hepburn that she would like to be a tree. Well, now we can each decide what kind of treeContinue Reading

Should I Put My House In A Trust?

A question I get asked a lot by clients is “should I put my house in a trust?” The answer, of course, is “it depends.” Imagine walking into a doctor’s office and asking them “should I go on [insert medication you heard about on the radio here]?” or “should I have [surgery your friend justContinue Reading

An online option for estate planning

I think we are up to 5 feet of snow at this point. I’m shuffling client appointments again this week since either the roads are too dangerous for driving, my clients haven’t been plowed out yet, or there are child care issues since their kids are home from school for the 6th time this month.Continue Reading

Avoiding Conflict In a Blended Family

Another celebrity death, another article about how the family is headed off to court to fight over things. Apparently, Robin William’s children and his wife are arguing over his estate. According to the New York Times article, Williams left his property in a trust for his 3 children, with another trust for his wife thatContinue Reading

How To Research Family History

Stuck inside during a blizzard and need a fun project? Searching your family tree can provide hours of interesting discoveries (assuming you have electrical power, of course.) There are a few sites you can use: Family Search https://familysearch.org/ is free to use. You can also volunteer to help index old records to make them accessible.Continue Reading