The terms guardianship and conservatorship have different uses and applications depending on jurisdiction. Family members and other concerned persons often do not know where to turn when attempting to protect the interests of an adult or child with diminished capacity. It is not unusual for a person confronted with a guardianship issue to have never hired an attorney or to have never been in court before. Additionally, there are times where the individual who the family or concerned person is attempting to assist resists efforts to help, thereby exacerbating a difficult situation.
Efforts should initially be made to engage and seek assistance from local support entities such as the Probate/Family Court, Adult Protective Services, the Mental Health/Mental Retardation Authority, Protection and Advocacy entities, Areas Agency on Aging, and similar organizations which might be able to assist free of charge. Family members and other concerned persons are also encouraged to seek competent legal advice at the earliest possible juncture to protect the safety, well-being and estate of a vulnerable person and should utilize less restrictive alternatives to guardianship and conservatorship if possible.
There may come a time when family members and other concerned persons might benefit from a second opinion or perhaps an analysis and observation from an outside-disinterested person. There may also be an instance where the person is intimidated by the “system” and wants to know which form of adult protection would be beneficial or might be avoided in their current legal situation.
Since 1993, Mr. Hammond has been involved several thousand adult protection, guardianship, and probate cases, either as attorney, attorney ad litem, guardian ad litem, expert witness or as guardian. He is also available for consultation and support on general issues to those in need of assistance on guardianship or conservatorship issues.