Minor Guardianship and Conservatorship

Arizona Revised Statutes Section 14-5204 states that the court may appoint a guardian for an unmarried Minor if all parental rights of custody have been terminated or suspended by circumstances or prior court order.

Arizona Revised Statutes Section 14-5401 provides for the appointment of a conservator to manage the estate and affairs of a Minor, if the court determines the Minor:

  • owns money or property that requires management or protection which cannot otherwise be provided or
  • if the Minor has or may have affairs which could be jeopardized or prevented because of his or her minority or
  • that funds are needed for the Minor’s support and education and that protection is necesary or desirable to obtain or provide those funds.
  • A parent of a Minor may, in a Will, request the appointment of a specific person or persons to act as the guardian and/or conservator for a Minor child.
  • A Minor who is 14 years or older may file a written objection to the appointment of the person whose appointment has been requested as a guardian or a conservator.
  • A Minor 14 years or older may also nominate a particular person to act as a guardian or a conservator.
  • A Minor14 years or older must be formally served with the court papers which request the appointment of a guardian and conservator.

The court may, but is not required to, appoint an independent attorney for the Minor.  A petitioner may a;sp formally request that the court appoint an attorney for the Minor. In making its determination about whether or not the appointment of a guardian and a conservator is in the best interests of the Minor, the court will consider the circumstances surrounding the request for appointments and the property or funds which need management.

A guardian of a Minor must:

  • File an annual report with the court regarding the health and welfare of the Minor;
  • The form of report is provided by the court and designed for the guardian to provide handwritten answers to specific questions on the report form.

A conservator for a Minor must:

  • Real property may also be restricted; this restriction prohibits the sale, lease, encumbrance, transfer or other conveyance of the real property without a court order which specifically authorizes such action.
  • Access to restricted funds is prohibited unless a court order is obtained to permit the conservator access for a specific reason.
  • Funds may be held in restricted bank accounts which are federally insured;
  • A conservator who controls the property and finances of a Minor must be bonded unless the property and funds are restricted.
  • File a formal inventory within 90 days of appointment as conservator which reflects all the property of the Minor which will be under the control of the conservator.
  • Property and funds which are managed by a bonded conservator must be accounted for annually.
  • The court will set a review date each year for the annual accounting.
  • The accounting must be submitted to the court on forms approved for that purpose which will detail all the assets being managed:
    • it will itemize the amount of every receipt of income, the source of the income, and date of receipt;
    • it will itemize the amount of every expenditure, to whom funds were paid and the purpose for the payment;
    • it will show the sale of any asset and the resulting loss or gain on the sale;
    • the last schedule of the accounting will detail the ending balance of all assets being managed.
  • Documentation filed with the annual accounting will provide copies of asset statements to substantiate that the ending balances shown on the accounting are accurate.
  • The annual accounting must be filed with:
    • a petition for approval of the accounting,
    • a notice of hearing,
    • a proof of notice to interested parties,
    • an affidavit for any legal fees or fiduciary fees paid from the Minor’s estate during the accounting year, and
    • a form of order

When a Minor becomes 18 years of age, documentation must be filed in court to terminate the conservatorship and transfer all property and assets to the Minor who has become an Adult.

A checklist of the information needed to prepare the court documents requesting that a guardian and a conservator be appointed for a minor can be found here.