About Guardianship Associates of Utah
Guardianship Associates of Utah believes that all people have the same basic civil and human rights and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Everyone is entitled to make choices and decisions about their own life unless they have been found legally incapacitated to do so. Guardianship Associates of Utah believes that choices made in another person’s behalf are to be enabling rather than restricting in as far as it is possible. Guardianship Associates of Utah adheres to and follows the guidelines of the National Guardianship Association.
Guardianship Associates of Utah (GAU) is a non-profit organization. Currently GAU is the only non-profit organization in the State of Utah who provides direct guardianship services. All GAU staff that provides direct guardianship and conservator services is certified as Registered Guardians by the Center for Guardianship Certification and the National Guardianship Association. GAU is currently the only agency to directly contract with the Office of Public Guardian to provide public guardianship to individuals in the State of Utah. Individuals can only qualify for publicly paid guardianship services by contacting the Office of Public Guardian directly for a guardianship evaluation.
Guardianship Associates of Utah provides direct Guardianship, Conservator and Trust services to individuals who have been deemed by a court of law to be incapacitated, incompetent or legally disabled. GAU provides private pay guardianship and conservator services for a fee. GAU provides guardianship evaluations to determine a need for guardianship specifically in cases where the proposed person is elderly. This is not a medical evaluation, but a social evaluation that addresses the need for guardianship due to mental incapacity and daily living skills. Guardianship evaluations are completed for a fee by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).
Guardianship Associates of Utah gives free presentations to family groups, schools, community groups and professional organizations about guardianship. GAU provides classes about appropriate advocacy, guardian duties and responsibilities. GAU recently added a new service to assist families who need help visiting their elderly family members. As part of this new service, a GAU representative will visit your elderly family member monthly or as needed to check on their welfare. GAU will also shop for needed items. This service is meant to provide support for families who are living a distance from their elderly relatives or those who would like to have someone physically check on the individual on a regular basis.
Guardianship Associates of Utah has an Assisted Family Guardianship Program to help families obtain guardianship for incapacitated family members who have reached the age of majority or have become incapacitated due to an illness, injury or a deteriorating condition. As part of the Assisted Family Guardianship Program we can provide your family with needed legal representation for both the person to be protected and the proposed guardian at a reduced cost. This option is a bit more costly, but saves the petitioner work and time. GAU also has a Pro Se Option where we help families act as their own legal counsel in a guardianship court proceeding. To facilitate this, GAU provides monthly Pro Se training classes to teach families how to develop the necessary paperwork to file with the courts. This training also teaches petitioners how to file a case and then how to represent themselves in court. When families leave this monthly training, they will have a CD with the necessary paperwork in template form along with written instructions. As part of this option, legal representation for the proposed protected person is also provided.
Guardianship Associates of Utah (GAU) was established as a non-profit organization in 1991. The need for professional guardianship and a family assistance program to assist families in gaining guardianship was developed by Karen K. Bradford. Karen was working for the ARC of Utah administrating their Residential Advocacy Program. She soon learned that advocacy was not enough when an individual needed an actual legal representative. She found that an advocate could not provide informed consent and that only a court appointed guardian could legally give consent for another individual.
Guardianship Associates of Utah follows the guidelines of the National Guardianship Foundation (NGF). All GAU staff that provides direct guardianship and conservator services is certified as Registered Guardians by the Center for Guardianship Certification and the National Guardianship Association. Guardianship Associates is also part of the Utah Guardianship Alliance. The Alliance is a group of professional and public guardians who provide education and assistance to agencies working with elderly, mentally ill and intellectually challenged individuals.
At the time Guardianship Associates was organized there was not a private non-profit organization providing such a service in the State of Utah. We still remain the only non-profit organization in the State of Utah providing direct guardianship services to individuals. GAU received their first contract with the Division of Services for People with Disabilities (DSPD) in the State of Utah in 1991 to provide guardianship services to 30 individuals at the Utah State Developmental Center. In 1993 this contract was expanded to a 100 individuals throughout Utah. In 1995 the contract was expanded again. Currently GAU serves over 150 individuals. In 1999 all public guardianship contracts were transferred to the Office of Public Guardian. For the last 10 years, Guardianship Associates of Utah has continued to provide contract public guardianship services for Utah.
In 1992 GAU added information and referral services. In 1993, GAU introduced our Assisted Family Guardianship Program. This program has grown to include attorney representation for petitioners and wards as well as Pro Se Training to teach families how to represent themselves in a guardianship proceeding. In 1998 GAU added private guardianship and conservator services for a fee. The newest addition to GAU services will be our Senior Services program. This service will include visits and shopping for your elderly family members for a fee. These visits can take place in a nursing home, assisted living center, other residential facilities or in a private home.