Public Fiducuary Director
Rita Luz Ashford, LF
(520)375-7892
rashford@santacruzcountyaz.gov

Referral Form

 

Public Fiduciary: Commonly Asked Questions

Click on the question to see the answer.

What is expected of a person or agency after making the initial referral?

The referring person or agency is expected to completely fill out the referral form and to obtain a properly written report signed by a physician, certifying that guardianship or conservatorship is necessary. This information is necessary for assessment of the case and for appropriate follow up if the Public Fiduciary is appointed. The Public Fiduciary will petition for appointment of a guardian or conservator only in those cases where there is a demonstrated need as defined by Arizona Statues. Because one meets the criteria for a guardianship or conservatorship, does not necessarily mean that there is a demonstrated need that the person have a guardian or conservator.

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Does the referral of a client to the office of the public fiduciary mean that the client now becomes the office of public fiduciary's responsibility?

No, the first task of the Office of the Public Fiduciary is to determine if guardianship or conservatorship is necessary at all and whether this can be proven in Court. The Office of the Public Fiduciary is responsible only after appointment by the Court.

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What if there are other family members?

The Office of the Public Fiduciary should be considered only as a last resort. When a person becomes physically or mentally incapacitated and needs a guardian or conservator, the responsibility of guardianship or conservatorship is best dealt with by the family.

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Is there a cost?

Yes, the Public Fiduciary has a claim against the estate of the ward, protected person or decedent for reasonable expenses and fees incurred in the administration of the guardianship, conservatorship or decedent's estate.

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What does the office of the public fiduciary do for the clients after appointment by the court?

The office of the Public Fiduciary is required to visit its client's four times each year and to otherwise fulfill the duties of guardian that includes the following:

  1. Evaluating the need of the ward for housing, financial support, professional services, medical care, comfort and education.
  2. Take steps to meet identified needs.
  3. Make decisions about whether the ward should receive services or participate in activities.
  4. Seeks enforcement of the ward's legal rights.

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What else should I know?

When the Office of the Public Fiduciary is conservator of the estate, an Estate Administrator is assigned to the case to do the following:

  1. Investigate and collect money and assets, of the client.
  2. Pays bills out of the clients estate.
  3. Enters into and completes contracts on behalf of the client.
  4. Defends the clients in any legal proceedings.

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