Arizona Revised Statutes Section 14-5101(1) defines an incapacitated person as someone who is impaired by reason of mental illness, mental deficiency, mental disorder, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs or chronic intoxication or other cause to the extent that the person lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his or her person. When a concerned party files a petition with the court to request the appointment of a conservator for an adult, the court will appoint an independent attorney for the person alleged to be incapacitated (referred to as the “ward”); the court-appointed attorney will interview and represent the ward. The court will also appoint an investigator who will interview the ward and file a report with the court. In most circumstances both the court-appointed attorney and the court-appointed investigator will also interview (i) the person filing the petition, (ii) the proposed conservator, and (iii) family members or other individuals as they deem appropriate. The court will also appoint a physician, psychologist, nurse or similar medical person who will complete a report in a form approved by the court; the medical person who will make the report can be named by the petitioner and is often the attending physician, psychologist or nurse familiar with the ward. The court will consider the medical report, the investigator’s report and the position of the court-appointed attorney in making its determination about whether or not the alleged incapacity is sufficient to require the appointment of a conservator and whether or not the appointment of the conservator is in the best interests of the ward.
The court also requires that the proposed conservator view video modules regarding a conservator’s responsibilities before it will make an appointment.
Information needed to prepare the court documents requesting that a conservator be appointed for an adult who can no longer adequately manage his or her assets and/or income can be found here.