The Public Fiduciary's Office serves as the guardian and/or conservator for vulnerable adults after it is determined through a court process that the person is unable to make decisions due to incapacity. As the guardian, the office makes decisions for the person's placement and medical care. As the conservator, the office pays the person's bills and handles their financial affairs. The Public Fiduciary will only be appointed if there is no one else that is willing or able to serve in this capacity.
The Public Fiduciary may also serve as a Personal Representative in probate cases. Again, the cases are referred to them when the decedent has no one else willing or able to serve.
- Referral Investigation
- Case Management
- Client Financial Services
- Indigent Burial
- Guardianships (persons and small estates under $10,000)
- Conservatorships (assets of persons)
- Decedent Estates (affairs of the deceased)
Referrals to an Intake Case Manager are made by different agencies and the Superior Court when there is a concern regarding a vulnerable adult. Preliminary information is gathered regarding the needs of the person. An investigation is initiated regarding whether the person is incapacitated and has no other option than guardianship and/or conservatorship. The Case Manager then determines whether the Public Fiduciary is the last resort.
Before the Public Fiduciary takes the case, the person must be determined by the investigation to be incapacitated and appropriate for services through the County. The Public Fiduciary files a petition for appointment of Guardianship and/or Conservatorship (if the person has assets over $10,000). Then the person is assigned an Attorney to represent them. A Court Visitor is also assigned the case to give a report to the Court. All alleged incapacitated person has a right to an evidentiary hearing and the Intake Case Manager may testify as to his or her incapacity.
Duties upon appointment as guardian & conservator: The Public Fiduciary makes an inventory within 90 days to be filed with the Court and gets appraisals for valuable assets, such as the residence. The department then works with Real Estate Agents for the sale of the property. Locks are changed on the residence and a review of important personal papers takes place for financial investments and legal documents. Collection of money from banks occurs and is placed with Pinal County Treasurer in a client account. Once completed, a budget is established and bills are paid. If necessary, transportation is provided to appointments. The Public Fiduciary will also contact service agencies of appointment and sign authorizations. Other duties of the office include:
- Making decisions for medical treatment
- Making decisions for placement
- Handling any legal matters that may be pending
- Reviewing benefits for appropriateness
- Disposing of personal and real property
- Preserving the estate for the protected person
- Maintaining contact with interested parties
- Visiting client at placement
- Reviewing client's needs with staff
- Documenting all actions in the database
CHARGES FOR SERVICES
- Director/Attorney: $100 per hour
- Case Manager/Legal Secretary: $40 per hour
- Finance/Benefits/Bill Pay: $40 per hour