Guardianship Process In Arizona

In Arizona, guardianship is the legal process through which a person (the guardian) is granted by the court the ability to make personal decisions for another (the ward or protected person). This common when the ward is either a minor or an adult who unable to make decisions for themselves due to a physical or mental condition.

Here’s an overview of the guardianship process in Arizona as of 2021:

Types of Guardianship

    • Guardianship of a Minor¬†applies when parents can’t care for their child, either temporarily or long-term.
    • Guardianship of an Adult applies when an adult is unable to make or communicate responsible personal decisions because of a physical or mental disability.

Determine Guardianship Eligibility

  • 18 years old and up
  • Must be a US resident
  • Must be of sound mind and not convicted of a felony

Petition for Guardianship

    • A prospective guardian must file a petition with the court.
    • The petition must detail information about the proposed guardian, the ward, the reason for application, and any relevant relationships (e.g., family).

Notice of the Guardianship Process

    • Parties involved must be given notice of the guardianship process. This includes the ward, close family members, and other relevant parties.
    • In the case of an adult ward, they must be personally served with the notice at least 14 days before the hearing.

Medical Statement

  • For adult guardianships, Arizona has a major requirement. There must be a statement from a physician or psychologist to confirm the person’s incapacity.


    • The court may order an independent investigation to assess the appropriateness of the proposed guardianship. The investigator will interview the proposed guardian, the ward, and other relevant individuals.
    • In the case of adult guardianships, the court may appoint an investigator or evaluator to visit with the proposed ward and gather facts to assist the court in making an educated judgment.

Hearing for the Guardianship Process

    • The court will convene a hearing at which the individual requesting guardianship and any other interested parties will be able to present evidence.
    • The court will decide whether or not the process is in the best interest of the ward. For adults, the judge must evaluate if the individual lacks the capacity to make personal decisions.

Guardianship Appointment 

  • If the judge grants the appointment, an order naming the guardian will be issued. A bond may be demanded of the guardian. This is a type of insurance to protect the ward’s assets.

Duties of the Guardian

  • The guardian will be in charge of the ward’s personal care. This includes making decisions concerning living arrangements, schooling, and medical treatment, among other things.
  • The guardian must report to the court annually about the ward’s condition.
  • The court will periodically review the guardianship to ensure it is what’s best for the ward.

Termination or Modification of the Guardianship Process

  • A guardianship may cease when the ward regains the ability to make own decisions, when a minor reaches the age of 18, or dies.
  • Interested parties can petition the court to end or modify the guardianship if necessary.

Knowing the difference between guardianship and conservatorship in Arizona is important. Conservatorship mainly involves managing the financial assets of the ward.

Guardianship is a significant legal responsibility and can significantly impact the rights of the ward. Always consult with an attorney familiar with Arizona law before starting the process.