In our last post we outlined the landscape for Arizona guardian/conservatorship law if the governor signs into law Senate Bill 1499 and House Bill 2424, both of which recently passed their respective houses in the state legislature. Without revisiting the specifics here, these two pieces of legislation would tighten up Arizona guardian/conservatorship law quite a bit by adding greater protections to wards and protected persons who are under the stewardship of a fiduciary. But, when reading the specific changes, you might have realized that the new legislation does not go quite as far as reformers had hoped it would.
Like most legislation that gets passed, both the House Bill and the Senate Bill were modified from their original version before they eventually wound up on the Governor’s desk. And while supporters of these bills still consider the legislation a victory for Arizona guardian/conservatorship law, some of the stronger points of the bills were removed. For instance, with the Senate Bill, a provision was removed that would have required family members to pay for attorney fees and court costs if they unsuccessfully challenged a guardianship or conservatorship. The legislature ultimately decided that this provision was overly punitive, and that it would have prevented family members from voicing their concerns about their loved one.
The House Bill was also pared down quite a bit before it reached the Governor’s desk. As it was originally drafted, the House Bill raised the standard of proof to clear and convincing for parties seeking to have a conservator appointed to manage an incapacitated adult’s finances. Because the final version of the bill does not raise the standard, however, it remains somewhat easier to have a conservator appointed under Arizona guardian/conservatorship law.
Again, despite these changes, the new legislation adds several protections to wards and protected persons under Arizona guardian/conservatorship law, which you can read about in our last post. Also, the Arizona Republic printed an informative piece on this topic recently, which you can read here. If you have additional questions about Arizona guardian/conservatorship law, please contact JacksonWhite or fill out a consultation form.