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 guardian 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 meet with 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 guardian, 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 alleged incapacity is sufficient to require the appointment of a guardian and whether or not the appointment of the guardian is in the best interests of the ward. NOTE: If the person alleged to be incapacitated owns property that requires management such as real estate, bank accounts, securities and/or monthly income other than social security, the court will require the appointment of a conservator as well as a guardian; the guardian/conservator can be the same person or different people.
The court also requires that the proposed guardian view video modules regarding a guardian’s responsibilities before it will make an appointment.
Information needed to prepare the court documents requesting that a guardian be appointed for an adult who cannot care for himself or herself can be found here.