My office represents a wonderful 85 year old man that has been under guardianship and conservatorship for the past five years.  His health had deteriorated to the point that he needed the court’s protection.  Prior to the establishment of the guardianship and conservatorship, he intended on marrying his longtime girlfriend.

For the first few years of the court’s protection, he was unable to make informed decisions relative to his care and daily activities.  Over time, he steadily improved to the point where he was able to clearly state his desire to marry his girlfriend, and equally important, to ensure that his girlfriend would become the surviving spouse of his sizeable intestate estate.

My office filed a petition seeking court authority to permit the ward to marry his longtime girlfriend and to create an estate plan.  The guardian and conservator objected.  However, there is nothing in the probate code that prohibits a person under guardianship and conservatorship from marrying.  In fact, the spirit of the probate code provides for the guardian and conservator to provide as much self-determination and autonomy as possible to the ward.  The Court appointed a guardian ad litem to prepare a report and recommendation.  Ultimately, the court granted the petition to marry but prohibited to execution of an estate plan.

This case underscores a unique example of creative estate planning.  The ward can be assured that his assets and remaining years will be with his longtime partner.   Hopefully, I will be invited to the wedding.