Jaburg Wilk


Five Important Things to Know About Guardianship and Conservatorship in Maricopa County During COVID-19

Categories: Estate Planning, Probate Litigation, Article

guardianship and conservatorship in Maricopa due to coronavirus

(1) The Maricopa County Probate Courts Remain Open 

Although things change daily, Maricopa County Courts remain open, subject to certain restrictions. You can find the most up to date Arizona court notices on our COVID-19 page.

(2) However, Hearings are Limited 

The Probate Court is limiting all hearings, especially in person hearings. Each Judicial Officer is addressing cases on a case by case basis, with priority given to emergency matters. At this time, they are not scheduling non-emergency hearings until after April 30, 2020, and that date is likely to be extended as Arizona Governor Ducey provides further guidance.

(3) Emergency Guardianships/Conservatorships 

The Probate Court is setting hearings on Temporary / Emergency Guardianships and/or Conservatorships. If an emergency exists requiring the appointment of a Guardian and/or Conservator, it is possible to get a hearing before May 2020.

(4) If Something Needs to be Filed, it Will be Slower.

Maricopa County Probate Court is still a paper court as such all documents are hard filed, either through court runners or via mail. The Probate clerk is limiting the number of people at the filing counter due to social distancing concerns. They are only allowing 10 people at a time into the filing counter. All parties filing in person, must be at the filing counter by 5 pm in order to be served. Those waiting in line at 5 pm, will not be admitted in the Courthouse and will need to either file the next day or take advantage of alternative filing methods, like the drop box at each Courthouse.

(5) There are New Procedures for Emergency Filings

Previously, emergency filings could be walked to the Court for review. Instead, emergency filings (after they are filed with the Clerk) will need to be taken to the 3rd floor of the East Court Building. The assistant at the 3rd floor counter will coordinate getting the pleadings to the Judicial Officer handling emergency filings on that day. The options are to either wait on the 3rd floor while the Court reviews the emergency pleading or come back once the Court has issued a ruling on the emergency pleading.

About the Author: Nichole Wilk is a partner at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk. She assists clients with probate matters including obtaining guardianships and conservatorships.