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Volunteering

 

Do You Want to Help Guardians in Court?

You can help improve the lives of vulnerable adults who are under guardianship in your community by joining the Court Visitor Program. What is guardianship? It’s a legal procedure in which a court determines that a person lacks capacity to make or communicate decisions, needs protection, and finds that there is no less restrictive alternative for care than appointing a guardian.

See Also: Oversight and Screening of Court-Appointed Guardians

Court visitors investigate, observe, and report to the court, ensuring that the protected person’s needs are met, that their property is protected and used for their benefit, and that the court’s orders are followed properly.

The judge in state district court may appoint a court visitor to gather evidence to:

  • Decide whether the protected person may be absent from court hearings
  • Decide the nature and extent of the protected person’s incapacity
  • Decide the nature and extent of the guardian’s authority
  • Ensure that the court’s orders are followed

Court auditors are needed in addition to court visitors to monitor the financial reports about the protected person’s assets that are submitted to the court by the guardian or conservator. The auditor uses a standard form to note problems and report them to the court. Generally, court auditors have experience in accounting, tax preparation, business, or law.

Records researchers are also needed to review guardianship records and confirm their accuracy. Perseverance is needed to find contact information and verify all the information contained in the records.

Educators are people familiar with the guardianship process who conduct trainings for volunteers to be court visitors, records researchers, or court auditors. Educators themselves can be volunteers, but this usually requires an extensive background in guardianship.

Volunteers are appointed by the court, and contribute 8-10 hours per month for one year. Currently, the program is operating in the Third District Court (Salt Lake, Summit, and Tooele counties) and the Seventh District Court (Carbon, Emery, Grand, and San Juan counties.) Applicants to the program must complete an application form, background check, interview, and training.

There are numerous benefits to the Court Visitor Program. It provides an invaluable service to those in the guardianship system, helps families become better guardians, and provides a connection to the community.

For more information, contact Karolina Abuzyarova at 801-578-3925 or email karolinaa@email.utcourts.gov.

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