Guardianship

Michael Jace’s Kids Spend 4 Painful Hours In Police Custody Following The Death of Their Mother…

Much to the public’s shock and surprise, actor Michael Jace, best known for his role in the ‘The Shield,’ was charged with murder following the untimely death of his wife in May.

According to reports, Jace called 911 on himself after allegedly shooting his wife in front of his small children.  Besides the obvious trauma that the children faced, family members are up in arms that the kids were forced to spend four painful hours in the sheriff’s office while police sorted out the situation, rather than being placed in the care of loved ones.

Following Protocol

As unfortunate and terrible as it sounds, what most parents do not realize is that if something happens to them, whether it be a car accident or a heinous crime (as in this case), without TEMPORARY GUARDIANS named, the police have no choice but to take your children into custody until authorities can decide where they should be placed. As Provo guardianship lawyers, we see this happen all the time.

Special Needs Planning Issues Following Divorce

Divorce can be complicated, frustrating, disappointing, expensive, along with a whole range of other emotions, as anyone who has endured this type of proceeding can attest. As difficult as the issues can be in a divorce proceeding, can you imagine what happens when divorce involves a child with a disability?

We will focus on one case study to illustrate how much more difficult the issues can be when a child with a disability is involved in the marital split, and how important it is to have someone knowledgeable in government benefits and special needs planning issues participate in the proceedings.

The Facts
Consider the following situation: Husband and wife divorce in 1996, when their child, who is disabled, was 4 years old. The husband was ordered to pay approximately $2,800 per month in child support (considered to be about three times an ordinary child support order based upon his assets and income) for the life of the child. While it is unusual to see lifetime child support payments, and the award was larger than is customary, the husband agreed to this primarily because of the guilt he felt around the divorce. He also knew that his daughter was disabled and would require as much help as possible.

Dad's Driving is Scaring Me!

We've all seen it before, a huge Lincoln Town car weaving down the road, with little more than a tuft of purple hair or a shiny, hairless head just barely peeking over the steering wheel. As parents and grandparents age, driving can become much more difficult for them as vision worsens, reaction times slow down, and the potential for heart attacks, strokes or other sudden physically debilitating illnesses become more likely.

Often, I have children with elderly parents come into my office and tell me "We need to take away dad's/mom's license. Can we?"

What Michael Jackson Has Taught Us All (Part 3)

Blog Post by Melissa Platt, Esq.

Lesson #3: Every family with children must put into place a plan that specifies what should happen to their children, both in the short-term and the long-term, in the case of a parent’s death or incapacity.

Michael Jackson’s untimely death is another heartbreaking reminder that we never know when or how we’ll die. Responsible parents can no longer afford to think, “That won’t happen to me,” or “I’ll get around to it later.” Whatever you may think about MJ as a person, it’s undeniable that he was a devoted father.

What Michael Jackson Has Taught Us All (Part 2)

Blog Post by Melissa Platt, Esq.

Lesson #2: Your estate plan must be updated regularly to keep up with your changing life. An estate plan that is done once, stuck on a shelf, and never looked at again will not be effective when your family needs it. Your circumstances and your assets change, so it is critical to have an on-going relationship with your lawyer so that your estate plan can reflect those changes.

Unfortunately for his family, MJ did not update his estate plan to reflect his changing circumstances. When Michael’s will was signed in 2002, Debbie Rowe (Michael’s ex-wife and disputed biological mother of two of his children) had surrendered her parental rights.

What Michael Jackson Has Taught Us All (Part 1)

Blog Post by Melissa Platt, Esq.

I’m sure we all have some memories associated with Michael Jackson Some of my memories include watching the music video “Thriller” for the first time, attempting the “moon walk,” and wondering what Disneyland’s “Captain EO” was all about. And now the King of Pop’s legacy includes several valuable lessons on estate planning as well.

Lesson #1: It’s not about the documents. In my opinion, one of the reasons why you do estate planning with an attorney is to have someone take you by the hand, advise you through the decision-making process, and guide you around potential pitfalls. Why else would you pay an attorney thousands of dollars for documents that you can get for a few hundred dollars (or less) online or from an office supply store?

When is a Guardianship Over an Adult Appropriate?

Courtroom and U.S. FlagA "guardianship" establishes the legal right of one individual to make decisions regarding the physical care of another who is no longer able to make such decisions for themselves.  A "conservatorship" is similar to a guardianship, however the decision-making power granted is limited to the financial affairs of the individual over whom the conservatorship is established (the "ward").  These powers can only be granted by a court of law where jurisdiction is proper (e.g., where the ward lives).  The laws that govern these situations can be found in Title 75, Chapter 5 of the Utah Code.

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