Probate court helps families arrange care for loved ones who are aging or incapacitated. After a loved one passes away, probate court helps a family sort through and settle their affairs.
It generally takes many months, sometimes more, to settle a case, depending on where you live and the complexity of your situation. Sometimes, however, families need immediate action from the court.
Here are a few examples of emergency probate situations that could require immediate legal intervention from probate court.
• If an elderly person is on the point of being evicted because bills haven’t been paid. A judge can appoint a temporary conservator to help resolve the situation until a permanent conservator can be appointed.
• If a person is not receiving necessary medical treatment for a life-threatening condition. The court can be petitioned to appoint a temporary conservatory.
• If assets are being stolen from the estate or trust of someone who has passed away, a judge can appoint a special administrator or special trustee.
Although some people feel that the police should be called in to resolve an emergency probate situation, the police have no jurisdiction in civil matters involving a guardianship, conservatorship, trust dispute or a decedent’s estate.
What people can do is provide evidence showing a high likelihood of imminent harm or danger unless the court acts immediately. For example, in a situation involving guardianships or conservatorships, you must present the judge with a physician’s note that clearly states, “An immediate guardianship is necessary.”
It’s essential to provide sufficient evidence to prevent a dismissal of any petition. This is where it’s important to have an attorney working with you. Most people who try to represent themselves to establish an emergency situation don’t know enough about the complexities of probate law to provide the judge or commissioner sufficient supporting information.
Here are a few of the other common mistakes people make in probate emergencies:
• Doing nothing after being told by the police the probate emergency is a civil matter.
• Taking away an elderly parent without letting anyone else know, to prevent the parent being placed into a nursing home you didn’t approve of. This can be considered a criminal action.
• Securing valuables from the decedent’s estate to protect them
A probate emergency situation arises when there is immediate danger, immediate harm to either a person, to property or the trust. You must be able to prove to the court that your situation requires immediate action. A lawyer can help with this to ensure the time response that is critical to helping you receive the assistance you need. You don’t have to navigate the waters of probate alone. We can help.