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Conservatorship – Information About Court Process

What happens after the conservatorship petition is filed?

In a conservatorship case, the court will schedule a hearing on whether the person should be appointed a conservator because of a disability related to mental illness or deficiency, physical illness or disability, advanced age, chronic drug or alcohol use. The respondent is entitled to have an attorney at the hearing, but if cannot afford one, the court will appoint the Office of Public Advocacy to represent the respondent.

Before the hearing, the court may appoint a visitor that the state pays for who will arrange for evaluations to be performed on the person. The court may also appoint an expert to investigate the respondent’s alleged disability.

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What does the visitor do?

The visitor will interview the respondent and any person seeking to be the conservator. The visitor must provide a copy of the petition for conservatorship to the respondent and explain what it means. The visitor will tell the respondent about his or her rights including the right to talk to an attorney or an expert in the field of the respondent’s alleged disability before answering any of the respondent’s questions. The visitor will provide the respondent with:

The visitor shall arrange for the expert to examine the respondent. Interviews and examinations of the respondent shall take place in the respondent’s residence unless the respondent agrees or the visitor finds it necessary to going to a medical or mental health facility.

The visitor will file with the court a report on what the evaluations showed and attach the expert’s report within 90 days after the petition is filed, but no later than 10 days before the conservatorship hearing. The person who filed the petition and the respondent have 10 days to file a written response to the visitor’s report if he or she wants to respond.

In addition, if the court appoints a conservator, the court will appoint a visitor every 3 years to file a report about the conservatorship. The state pays the visitor to prepare a report after interviewing the protected person, the conservator and others.

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What does the visitor’s report say?

The visitor shall file with the court an evaluation report within 90 days after the petition was filed. The report shall explain alternatives to conservatorship and recommend any that will be less restrictive and protect the respondent’s finances and property. The report may recommend conservatorship only if the visitor determines that alternatives cannot meet the respondent’s needs. The report includes:

If the evaluation report recommends conservatorship, it must also include:

The petitioner and the respondent may file responses to the evaluation report within 10 days of receiving it.

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What happens at the hearing?

The respondent has several rights at the hearing, including:

If the court finds the respondent:

AND

the court may appoint a conservator. The court shall consider the respondent’s preference about who to appoint as a conservator. The court will provide a written statement that explains the respondent’s rights and what procedures to use to petition the court.

If the court finds alternatives can meet the respondent’s needs, the court may dismiss the action and order alternative form of protection.

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What happens after the hearing?

If the court determines that a conservatorship is necessary, the court issues a Conservatorship Order that:

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How does the conservator accept the appointment?

The person named as the conservator must file an acceptance of the appointment and acknowledgement of duties and reporting requirements. A relative or friend of the protected person who is appointed as the conservator must complete one hour of mandatory education on the basics of conservatorship before the appointment or within 30 days after the appointment. Depending on the situation, to accept the appointment, file:

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What happens after the conservator accepts the appointment?

The court will issue a document called “Letters of Conservatorship” which states what are the conservator’s powers and whether there are any specific limitations.

The conservator will present the Letters when needed to show what their powers are, such as when dealing with financial issues.

The person appointed as the conservator must complete one hour of mandatory education on the basics of conservatorship before the appointment or within 30 days after the appointment.

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Does the conservator have to post a bond?

The court may require the conservator to post a bond, especially when there are substantial assets that need to be protected.

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Do I have to do any training to become a conservator of an adult?

Alaska law requires all guardians of adults to obtain at least 1-hour of education on the responsibilities of being a guardian. You may satisfy this requirement by a combination of video and reading materials, which are available at your local court.

Reading Materials

Video

If you can't view online:

If you live in Anchorage, you may also satisfy the requirement by attending a class sponsored by the Family Guardian Program. The class is offered the first Tuesday of each month at 4:00 p.m. at the Office of Public Advocacy, 900 W. 5th Ave., Ste. 525. Classes last approximately 1 hour and include an informational video and an opportunity to ask individual questions about the guardianship process. Please call 269-3500 if you plan to attend.

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Do I have to prove that I did the required training/education?

Once you do the required education, fill out and file:

Make 2 copies of the completed form. Provide a copy by mail or hand delivery to the ward in the case. Keep a copy for yourself. File the original with the court.

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Can a mediator help with adult guardianship and conservatorship?

The courts in Anchorage, Bethel, Dillingham, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau, Kenai, Kodiak, Palmer, Sitka and Valdez offer free mediation services in adult guardianship and conservatorship cases. The mediator helps those involved make decisions and create plans that will best meet the needs of the vulnerable adult.

Learn more about the Guardianship and Conservatorship Mediation Program, PUB-37 Adobe Acrobat PDF logo.

Read the Confidentiality and Mediation Agreement - Adult Guardianship and Conservatorship Adobe Acrobat PDF logo which describes mediation, the role of the mediator, and how mediation is confidential in these cases.

If you are interested in mediation and it is available in the court where you filed your case, you may file:

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Rev. 10 February 2015
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