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Guardianship/Conservatorship

The guardianship section needs to talk about guardianships for adults and guardianship for minor children. These are two different processes in Utah. The drafters need to review and describe procedures set in Utah Code Ann. §75-5-303 (as amended) specifically, provisions when an attorney or a court visitor needs to be appointed for an incapacitated person; §75-5-309 (as amended) and §75-5-311 (as amended) (who may be a guardian).
Also, the following information needs to be listed:

1. Does temporary guardianship terminate parental rights?
Parents can award guardianship on a permanent or temporary bases. Temporary guardianships usually have a time limit imposed by the probate court. Therefore, both the parent and the guardian have legal custodial rights and both can make decisions for the child.

2. What is the difference between guardianship and custody?
The key difference is the minor child’s parentage: custody describes a parent’s care of a child, whereas legal guardianship is granted to someone who is not the child’s biological parent. In some situations, a child may be under the guardianship of an individual while remaining in the custody of their parents to a degree.

3. What is proof of guardianship?
Legal guardianship gives authority to a person for a minor child when the child’s parents are not able to care for him. Parents can execute a Power of Attorney which is a legal document that allows a legal guardian to take care of personal and business matters on behalf of a parent. Probate court will issue Letters of Guardianship that serve as proof that a person has been appointed as guardian.

4. Is guardianship permanent?
Permanent guardianship refers to a type of guardianship in which a relationship between a child and a guardian is permanent and created a permanent family for the child. A birth parent may apply to the court to terminate this permanent guardianship after it is granted but only when certain issues arise.

5. Does guardianship terminate parental rights?
A guardianship of a minor child takes away the parents’ rights to make decisions about their child’s life. However, it does not permanently terminate parental rights. This means that although the guardian now has custody and is responsible for raising the child, the parents are still the child’s legal parents.