Particularly given the recent changes to parts of the Arizona Probate Code that control fiduciary relationships, the authority given under a legal guardianship in Arizona is not without its limits. For instance, because guardians ultimately act as fiduciaries, they have a host of obligations that they are required by law to fulfill. At the core of these obligations is to always act in the ward’s best interest.
While we will not go into each of the obligations and restrictions that surround a legal guardianship in Arizona in this post, we will talk about one particular limitation of which every guardian should be aware. Under a legal guardianship in Arizona, guardians do not have authority to make mental health placement decisions on behalf of wards. So if you are a guardian, you could be unable to obtain adequate care for a ward that genuinely needs care in an inpatient mental health facility without first seeking the court’s permission.
You should know that although a legal guardianship in Arizona does not give this authority, you can obtain this authority with another legal device, called a mental health guardianship. Upon petition, the court can establish a mental health guardianship at the same time that it establishes an ordinary guardianship, or at any time thereafter. However, mental health guardianships are only valid for one year, so it is very important to time the petition appropriately.
To learn more about mental health guardianships, or to discuss legal guardianship in Arizona with a guardianship attorney, do not hesitate to contact JacksonWhite at (480) 818-6912, or to fill out a consultation form.