If you believe an elderly person in your life needs to be protected from themselves or others either physically, financially, or both, you should make an appointment to consult with us about the situation. This will give you an opportunity to present information about your concerns. We can then help you consider your options and recommend the best solution under the circumstances.
If it appears that a guardianship or conservatorship is the best course of action, the first hurdle is to get an evaluation of the competency of the person you are trying to protect. Obtaining a written statement by a medical professional that the person is no longer capable of managing themselves or their money will likely be required.
If you know of witnesses that have seen the person acting in a hazardous manner, or being abused or exploited by others, it will be helpful to provide their names and contact information. Also, if you are aware of any records of events that support the claim that the person is incompetent you should gather as many of them as you can. These records may include such things as voice mails, arrests or police reports, medical papers, etc. Anything that you can provide that supports your claim that your loved one needs protection is helpful.
When you meet with us, please have with you any of the supporting documents you have been able to gather. This will help in determining what should be done. If we recommend a guardianship or conservatorship, and you decide to go forward, a petition will need to be filed with the circuit court in the county where the person lives. Generally, we limit our cases to the four counties we serve most often: Marion, Polk, Yamhill, and Linn. This petition will contain the name of the proposed guardian or conservator, an explanation of why the protection is needed, the original letter from a medical professional or some other similar supportive documents, a general description of the current situation and any assets the person may own. Once this is filed with the court, the judge will often appoint a “visitor,” this is an individual trained to evaluate proposed protected persons. That “visitor” will then make a report to the court of their findings.
In Oregon, when the petition is filed, all interested parties are given notice and are sent a copy of the petition. This includes the proposed protected person, their immediate family, involved attorneys, and other people depending on the case. These folks all have two weeks to let the court know if they object. If anyone does object, the court will schedule a hearing to consider any testimony or evidence related to the petition. Once the hearing is over the court will decide if they will appoint someone to be the guardian or conservator.
The costs associated with this kind of a case generally range between $3,000 and $7,000.00. This all depends on whether someone objects to the appointment, whether there is a hearing, etc. These costs usually are covered with the protected person’s resources.