Within one week of the filing of a petition pursuant to this section, the court shall conduct a hearing at which the respondent shall be entitled to counsel. Notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be given not less than forty-eight hours prior to the hearing to all persons named in the petition and to the County Attorney.
If the Respondent does not have an attorney, the Court will appoint an attorney to provide representation, called a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). The County Attorney will represent the Commonwealth in this proceeding. The Petitioner is not required to have an attorney but may choose to do so.
After the Court reviews the petition and applications, the Court will designate an Interdisciplinary Team consisting of a Doctor, Psychologist, and Social Worker. Each member of this team will meet with the respondent and file a report consisting of their respective opinions as to the Respondent’s legal disability.
Once the Court receives all three reports, the matter will be scheduled for a bench trial or jury trial in the District Court. The hearing shall be a jury trial unless the following criteria are met: the respondent, counsel for the respondent, and County Attorney agree to a bench trial; no objection to a bench trial is made by an interested person; and the interdisciplinary evaluation reports reflect unanimous consensus as to the determination of disability and the court finds no cause to require a jury trial. At either hearing, the County Attorney, on behalf of the Commonwealth, and the Respondent’s attorney will present evidence from the reports. Upon conclusion of the trial, the judge or jury will determine whether the Respondent is fully or partially disabled in personal and/or financial affairs. The Respondent must be present at the hearing unless the court determines that attendance would subject the person to serious risk of harm.
If the judge or jury finds that the Respondent is partially or fully disabled in either their personal or financial affairs, the Court will decide who will be the Respondent’s guardian or conservator. Upon selection, the Court will file an order outlining the constraints of the guardian or conservator, if any. The court order will be filed with the court but must also be indexed in the county clerk’s office.
For more information, please visit Kentucky Guardianship Association, Inc. or call our office at 270.821.3164.