WYTYCHAK ELDER LAW, PLLC NEWS
April 2015, Issue 57
WE HAVE A NEW OWNER!
We are excited to announce that last month, Mike Wytychak III, the founder and owner of Wytychak Elder Law for over thirty years, sold the firm to his long-time associate, Kate Coyle. Many of you know Kate, as she has been the primary attorney at the firm for the last year. Mike will remain with the firm in the role of “Of Counsel.” Thank you for your continued support!
Wytychak Elder Law Office in December 2014
WHAT IS GOING ON?
Don’t miss the 15th Annual Alzheimer’s Association Masquerade Gala! The event will be on April 11, 2015 at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Washington. There will be a silent auction, entertainment, elegant dinner, and live auction. Tickets are $100 per person. For more information, contact Terry at (509) 473-3390.
Know the 10 Signs- Early Detection Matters- a workshop presented by the Alzheimer’s Association will take place on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 from 10 am to noon at the Kroc Center in Coeur d’ Alene. This presentation is free and open to the public. Contact the Kroc Center to register!
An all-day dementia education presentation will be presented on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 from 9 am to 4:30 pm at the Inn at Guardian Angel Homes in Post Falls, Idaho. The program is free and open to the public, and a complementary lunch is provided. Advance registration is requested. Contact the Alzheimer’s Association at (208) 666-2996 for registration and questions.
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“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” –Aesop
FAQ ON GUARDIANSHIPS AND CONSERVATORSHIPS, BY KATE COYLE
In the past several years, Guardianships and Conservatorships have become much more common than in years past. This is likely due to a number of reasons. Demographics in our area certainly show an aging population, which is a reason for the upswing, however institutions and facilities are
more commonly requiring Guardianships and Conservatorships before recognizing the authority of a friend or family member to assist a person with his or her care and finances. Put these factors together, and the need for Guardianships and Conservatorships is very high in North Idaho. While many people have heard the terms thrown around, I find that there are a lot of questions concerning Guardianships and Conservatorships in Idaho. In this article, I’ll address some of the more common questions that I get.
What is the difference between Guardianship and Conservatorship? A guardianship is a procedure whereby a person is appointed by the court to make decisions for another person regarding their physical care and custody. This includes arranging a person’s living situation, ensuring their health and safety, and making sure the person is not victimized. A conservatorship is a procedure in which a person is appointed by the court to manage the financial affairs of a person (such as real estate, bank accounts, etc...).
When would a person need a guardian or a conservator? Guardianship and conservatorship is often necessary when a person is incapacitated to the point where they can no longer handle finances, are forgetful and/ or confused, and needs assistance making reasonable health and financial decisions. Incapacity is determined by a physician. Many times, if a person has previously signed Powers of Attorney for Health and/ or Finances or a Trust, a Guardianship and/ or Conservatorship is not necessary, however there are instances in which although the documents were signed, a Guardianship and Conservatorship may still be necessary to protect the incapacitated person.
How is Guardianship and Conservatorship obtained? A person can apply with the court for guardianship, conservatorship, or both for a spouse, parent, child, or sibling. Upon application, the court will appoint an attorney to represent the incapacitated person, a social worker (visitor), and a physician to review the case, meet with interested parties, and report to the court. Once the reports are completed, a hearing is held regarding two issues: is guardianship and/ or conservatorship necessary, and is the person who has applied the best person for the job? Co-guardians and co- conservators and alternates can also be appointed. The whole process generally takes two to three months to complete. If necessary, a temporary guardian and conservator can be appointed in the interim to handle emergencies.
What does the applicant need to do to be appointed Guardian or Conservator? In recent years, the process to become guardian or conservator has become much more vigorous. An applicant must take a court-required training online prior to being appointed. Also, the applicant must submit to a background check. Once appointed, the guardian and conservator must file reports with the court concerning the status of the incapacitated person.
How long does Guardianship and/ or Conservatorship last? In most cases, guardianship and conservatorship lasts until the protected person passes away. However, in some cases, if the health of the person has improved and the incapacity has ceased, the court can terminate a guardianship and conservatorship with evidence that it is no longer necessary.
Does the Guardian and/ or Conservator have individual liability for the person’s debts? No, a guardian or conservator is not liable for the protected person’s debts. The protected person’s own assets should be utilized to pay for his or her care and other expenses. However, if a Conservator intentionally misuses the funds of the person, he or she would be subject to fines and civil or criminal penalties.
Although every case is different, the information above consists of questions that I see come up in nearly every case. If you have more specific questions, feel free to contact the office for a brochure that goes into further detail.
Wytychak Elder Law, PLLC PO Box 1888
Coeur d’ Alene, ID 83816 208-765-3595 www.wytychakelderlaw.com