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Guardianship refers to protection of the person and not the person’s estate or property.  For protection of a person's estate or property, see Conservatorship.


A Guardian is appointed to make decisions for an adult (a person 18 years of age or over) who, because of mental or physical illness or disability or alcohol or drug abuse, is unable to make those decisions. The law refers to this person an "incapacitated person." An incapacitated adult for whom a Guardian has been appointed is referred to by law as a "ward.  A "ward" cannot vote or marry, get a driver's license, buy property, use a credit card or take out a loan.  Generally, the guardian of an adult makes decisions concerning arrangements for the adult ward's housing, education, medical care, food, clothing, and social activities.

The filing of a formal guardianship petition is necessary for adult guardianships.  Arizona statute determines who may be considered for appointment as Guardian for an adult, and in what order.
ARS §14-5311


Arizona has a quick and uncomplicated process for granting guardianship of a minor child (a person under 18 years of age) for a period of less than six months. A parent can give a limited power of attorney specifying the scope of the guardianship and the expiration date of the authority.

The filing of a formal guardianship petition is necessary for minor guardianships of more than six months, or when the rights of the parents have been terminated or suspended by court order, by their written consent, by their abandonment of the minor child for more than six months, or by their death or disability.

In formal proceedings, a person becomes a guardian of a minor by acceptance of a testamentary appointment or upon appointment by the court. The guardianship status continues until the minor marries, or turns 18, or the Guardian is removed or resigns with court approval, without regard to the location from time to time of the guardian and minor ward.

Generally, the Guardian of a minor has the same authority and responsibility that a parent has to provide food, housing, medical care, education and supervision. Unlike a parent, a Guardian is not required to provide for the child from personal funds, and is not necessarily financially responsible to others for the actions of the ward, just because of the Guardianship.


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