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Legal Guardianships In
Missouri
A Sound Framework – An
Effective Application
© December 2021
MISSOURI APPELLATE COURT
Guardians are required to “know
the laws” that govern them, by
reading applicable statutory laws
and case laws.
See In re Estate of Pittman, 16 S.W.3d
639, 643 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000)
MISSOURI SUPREME COURT ON THE
ROLES OF CONSERVATORS
“The curator [i.e., conservator] is charged
with the care and management of the ward's
estate, subject to the superintending control
of the probate court. It is his duty to collect
the assets and to make proper investments
thereof, and otherwise manage the estate.”
See In re Estate of Powell et al., 245, 283 S.W.3d 280
(Mo. App. W.D. 2008) (citing Williams v. Vaughan,
363 Mo. 639, 253 S.W.2d 113 (Mo. en banc 1952)).
MISSOURI SUPREME COURT ON THE
ROLES OF LEGAL GUARDIANS
“As guardian it was [the appellant's] duty
to take charge of his ward and to arrange
for a suitable home, food, clothing and
other necessaries, the reasonable value of
which is a proper charge against the
ward's estate” (emphasis added).
See In re Estate of Powell et al., 245, 283 S.W.3d
280 (Mo. App. W.D. 2008) (citing Williams v.
Vaughan, 363 Mo. 639, 253 S.W.2d 113 (Mo. en
banc 1952)).
COURT ORDERS FOR GUARDIANS
“While customary, it is not necessary that
a guardian obtain a court order
authorizing expenditures. He may take the
chance of the disallowance of his
accounts upon submission at time of
settlement if such expenditures were not
necessary and proper for the support,
maintenance and education of his ward.”
See In re Estate of Powell et al., 245, 283
S.W.3d 280, 284 (Mo. App. W.D. 2008) (citing
Hamiltonian Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n v.
Reliance Ins. Co., 527 S.W.2d 440, 444
(Mo.App. E.D.1975)
1983 REVISIONS TO THE MISSOURI
GUARDIANSHIP CODE
Guardianship Code Revision
structured “the law to meet the
unique needs of each distinct
individual․
․․
․ [T]he law has been
made to fit the people it is meant
to serve.”
See John A. Borron, Jr., The
Guardianship Code Revision:  An
Overview, 39 J.Mo.Bar 453, 460-61
(1983).
BREADTH OF GUARDIANS’ LEGAL
AUTHORITY
“Giving the language of the applicable statutes of
Chapter 475 its plain and ordinary meaning, it is
apparent to us that the [ward’s] guardian had the
duty and responsibility to make any and all
decisions, which the [ward] was presumed not to
have the capacity to make, regarding his living
arrangements, treatment, health care, and other
basic necessities. In our view, this necessarily
would include making a decision as to whether it
was in the [ward’s] best interests to be
conditionally released from DMH custody in that
such a decision necessarily would affect his future
living arrangements, treatment, and health care.”
See Preston v. State, 33 S.W.3d 574, 580 (Mo. App.
W.D. 2000)
GUARDIANS’ LEGAL DUTY TO USE THEIR
OWN MONEY
“Guardians are not obligated to
use their personal financial
resources to support their
wards.”
See J.L.M. v. R.L.C., Jr., 132 S.W.3d
279, 288 (Mo. App. W.D. 2004) (citing
§ 475.120.4 (1983)); see also §
475.343 (2018).
MISSOURI LEGISLATORS IGNORE CASE LAWS TO FURTHER
ERODE GUARDIANSHIPS BY ELIMINATING GUARDIAN DUTIES
“[Missouri Association of Public Administrators, et al] say that this
is a clarification of responsibilities of guardians. Current statute
says that guardians provide for their wards but that sometimes is
taken to mean that they have to take care of them financially
(personally), so this makes it clear that the guardian makes
personal decisions for the ward, but does not take care of them
financially.”
House Judiciary Committee Hearing on HB 978, Committee
Summary, February 24, 2021 (eliminated guardian’s duties to
provide for the ward’s care, treatment, habilitation, education,
support, and maintenance).
1983 REVISED GUARDIANSHIP
TYPES
Standby, Limited & Full
Accounts for all levels of incapacity &
disability
Gives clear directions to courts and
guardians
MISSOURI GUARDIANSHIP ASSOCIATION UTILIZES THREE-
TIER CLASSIFICATION OF GUARDIANSHIPS
General, Specialized & Forensic
Better identifies need for & permeators of
the guardianship based on classification
Better identifies risks for and incidents of
abuse, neglect, exploitation, or worse
Better identifies laws needed based on
the specific classification of guardianship

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Power Point On Legal Guardianships

  • 1. Legal Guardianships In Missouri A Sound Framework – An Effective Application © December 2021
  • 2. MISSOURI APPELLATE COURT Guardians are required to “know the laws” that govern them, by reading applicable statutory laws and case laws. See In re Estate of Pittman, 16 S.W.3d 639, 643 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000)
  • 3. MISSOURI SUPREME COURT ON THE ROLES OF CONSERVATORS “The curator [i.e., conservator] is charged with the care and management of the ward's estate, subject to the superintending control of the probate court. It is his duty to collect the assets and to make proper investments thereof, and otherwise manage the estate.” See In re Estate of Powell et al., 245, 283 S.W.3d 280 (Mo. App. W.D. 2008) (citing Williams v. Vaughan, 363 Mo. 639, 253 S.W.2d 113 (Mo. en banc 1952)).
  • 4. MISSOURI SUPREME COURT ON THE ROLES OF LEGAL GUARDIANS “As guardian it was [the appellant's] duty to take charge of his ward and to arrange for a suitable home, food, clothing and other necessaries, the reasonable value of which is a proper charge against the ward's estate” (emphasis added). See In re Estate of Powell et al., 245, 283 S.W.3d 280 (Mo. App. W.D. 2008) (citing Williams v. Vaughan, 363 Mo. 639, 253 S.W.2d 113 (Mo. en banc 1952)).
  • 5. COURT ORDERS FOR GUARDIANS “While customary, it is not necessary that a guardian obtain a court order authorizing expenditures. He may take the chance of the disallowance of his accounts upon submission at time of settlement if such expenditures were not necessary and proper for the support, maintenance and education of his ward.” See In re Estate of Powell et al., 245, 283 S.W.3d 280, 284 (Mo. App. W.D. 2008) (citing Hamiltonian Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n v. Reliance Ins. Co., 527 S.W.2d 440, 444 (Mo.App. E.D.1975)
  • 6. 1983 REVISIONS TO THE MISSOURI GUARDIANSHIP CODE Guardianship Code Revision structured “the law to meet the unique needs of each distinct individual․ ․․ ․ [T]he law has been made to fit the people it is meant to serve.” See John A. Borron, Jr., The Guardianship Code Revision:  An Overview, 39 J.Mo.Bar 453, 460-61 (1983).
  • 7. BREADTH OF GUARDIANS’ LEGAL AUTHORITY “Giving the language of the applicable statutes of Chapter 475 its plain and ordinary meaning, it is apparent to us that the [ward’s] guardian had the duty and responsibility to make any and all decisions, which the [ward] was presumed not to have the capacity to make, regarding his living arrangements, treatment, health care, and other basic necessities. In our view, this necessarily would include making a decision as to whether it was in the [ward’s] best interests to be conditionally released from DMH custody in that such a decision necessarily would affect his future living arrangements, treatment, and health care.” See Preston v. State, 33 S.W.3d 574, 580 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000)
  • 8. GUARDIANS’ LEGAL DUTY TO USE THEIR OWN MONEY “Guardians are not obligated to use their personal financial resources to support their wards.” See J.L.M. v. R.L.C., Jr., 132 S.W.3d 279, 288 (Mo. App. W.D. 2004) (citing § 475.120.4 (1983)); see also § 475.343 (2018).
  • 9. MISSOURI LEGISLATORS IGNORE CASE LAWS TO FURTHER ERODE GUARDIANSHIPS BY ELIMINATING GUARDIAN DUTIES “[Missouri Association of Public Administrators, et al] say that this is a clarification of responsibilities of guardians. Current statute says that guardians provide for their wards but that sometimes is taken to mean that they have to take care of them financially (personally), so this makes it clear that the guardian makes personal decisions for the ward, but does not take care of them financially.” House Judiciary Committee Hearing on HB 978, Committee Summary, February 24, 2021 (eliminated guardian’s duties to provide for the ward’s care, treatment, habilitation, education, support, and maintenance).
  • 10. 1983 REVISED GUARDIANSHIP TYPES Standby, Limited & Full Accounts for all levels of incapacity & disability Gives clear directions to courts and guardians
  • 11. MISSOURI GUARDIANSHIP ASSOCIATION UTILIZES THREE- TIER CLASSIFICATION OF GUARDIANSHIPS General, Specialized & Forensic Better identifies need for & permeators of the guardianship based on classification Better identifies risks for and incidents of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or worse Better identifies laws needed based on the specific classification of guardianship