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Diligence And Discretion In Contested Guardianship Cases

As family members age and suffer cognitive decline, deciding who will assume control of their personal finances, medical care and any business assets they may own becomes an important and sensitive issue. Especially when these decisions cause conflicts among loved ones, the knowledge and guidance of a skilled contested guardianship attorney are essential.

At Law Office of Curtis E. Shirley, LLC, attorney Curtis Shirley provides clients across Indiana with attentive, responsible representation as they challenge or defend against a challenge to a court-ordered guardianship. Diligent and discrete in negotiation and mediation and, when necessary, assertive in the courtroom, he is committed to resolving guardianship conflicts efficiently and effectively.

Understanding Contested Guardianship Claims

As elderly people need help making decisions or become unable to manage their own affairs, a guardianship court may them incapacitated and in need of a guardian. Guardians serve two important roles – (1) taking care of the person, who becomes their ward, and (2) taking care of their ward’s property. Guardians of the person help decide where they live, what medical treatment they receive and supervise activities much like a parent would do for a child. Guardians of the estate handle financial accounts, pay bills, invest and vote shares of stock. One benefit of a guardianship is the ward can no longer transact business by signing contracts or deeds. This is especially helpful when an elderly person is prone to give away money to strangers or buy things over the phone. If a loved one might order thousands of magazines over the phone from Publishers Clearinghouse, it’s time to involve an attorney and seek the help and supervision of a guardianship court.

If a prospective ward does not wish to lose control over these decisions, they may defend against a guardianship. This may involve expert testimony from a physician to confirm or disprove the elderly person’s incapacity.

Family members may also dispute who the court should appoint as a guardian. This is especially true where the prospective ward owns a great deal of property or controls a corporation.

A guardianship dispute is sometimes related to the control of a closely held business, with some family members objecting to the way the company has been managed.

Even after the court appoints a guardian, disputes may arise where the guardian does not file an accounting, money is missing or the guardian makes improper gifts. Family members may not agree on end-of-life choices. Even where guardianships start off as rather simple, family members often need the assistance of an experienced litigation attorney to help resolve conflict. With clients of significant wealth, guardianship courts have a great deal of authority and discretion to approve gifts or establish a different estate plan. Before a guardianship court takes action to appoint a guardian and potentially change your inheritance, contact an attorney at your earliest opportunity.

Seek Confidence And Clarity In Your Guardianship Dispute

For knowledgeable, robust representation from an attorney with over 30 years of experience, contact Law Office of Curtis E. Shirley, LLC. Mr. Shirley is prepared to meet with you at his Indianapolis office, or arrangements can be made for his travel to your part of the state. To schedule a consultation, call 317-439-5648 or complete his online form.