Utah Courts

UTAH COURTS

Settings

The Utah Judiciary is committed to the open, fair, and efficient administration of justice under the law. Find important information on what to do about your case and where to find help on our Alerts and Information Page due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

El poder judicial de Utah está comprometido a la administración de justicia de una manera abierta, justa y eficiente bajo la ley. En nuestra página Información y alertas encontrará información importante sobre qué hacer en cuanto a su caso y dónde encontrar ayuda debido al impacto del brote de COVID-19.

Home Page
Previous Page
 

Finding Legal Help

You are not required to hire an attorney, but legal matters can be complicated. Consider talking to an attorney to go over your options. See the Finding Legal Help page for information about free and low cost ways to get legal help. 

Como encontrar ayuda legal

Usted no está obligado a contratar un abogado, pero los asuntos legales pueden ser complicados. Considere la posibilidad de hablar con un abogado para hablar de sus opciones. Para información sobre cómo obtener ayuda legal vea nuestra página Como encontrar ayuda legal.

Guardianship Reporting and Monitoring Program (GRAMP)

What is GRAMP?

Reporting and monitoring encompasses all actions that a court takes during and after the appointment of a guardian. Unlike most cases involving the courts, once a judge appoints a guardian or conservator, the court has continual jurisdiction and oversight responsibility. The quality of care, quality of life, and accountability for funds of a vulnerable individual are at stake.

The Guardianship Reporting and Monitoring Program (GRAMP) oversees guardianship/conservatorship matters, under the Administrative Office of the Courts. GRAMP is focused on helping the courts manage risks, prevent abuse, and increase public confidence in the guardianship process. GRAMP became operational in 2018, is staffed by two full-time employees and assisted by program volunteers.

What is Guardianship?

Adults have the right to make decisions about their lives. Sometimes an adult becomes incapable of making minimally adequate decisions about medical treatment, daily functions, finances, or other important matters, and as a result, their health and safety are in jeopardy. When an adult loses the capacity to make decisions, they may need special protection.

Two people sitting on a bench

Guardianship is a legal arrangement through which a person (the guardian) is legally authorized to make decisions for another individual (the protected person). Only the court can grant a guardianship, therefore, the court oversees the process to ensure that individuals under guardianship receive that special protection. A guardian is a position of high trust, with responsibilities for the protected person and duties to the court.

The Guardianship Process chart offers a general overview of the steps followed in guardianship cases. Some procedures may vary from court to court, and the judge may require procedures not shown on the graphic, based on the circumstances of a case.

What is the difference between a guardian and conservator?

Generally speaking, a guardian is responsible for decisions about a protected person's personal well-being, such as where they live, their nutrition and healthcare, personal care, education, and recreation.

In contrast, a conservator is responsible for making decisions about a protected person's estate, such as their money, property, investments, businesses, and contracts.

The court might appoint a guardian, a conservator, or both. Furthermore, the guardian and the conservator might be two different people, or they might be the same person. If the court does not appoint a conservator, the guardian may assume many of the conservator's duties.

Additional information:

The following links can be accessed through the Court's Self-Help Center

GRAMP Responsibilities

As the graphic below shows, GRAMP oversees three distinct, but connected programs related to guardianship. GRAMP is responsible for the following:

  • Coordinating the Guardianship Signature Program, which connects volunteer attorneys with opportunities to represent respondents in guardianship proceedings, when the respondents do not have counsel of their own choice.
  • Managing the Court Visitor Program, which utilizes the services of volunteers to investigate, observe, and report on behalf of the court in guardianship- and conservatorship-related matters.
  • Facilitating the WINGS committee, a group of stakeholders from various disciplines, focused on improving that state's guardianship and conservatorship services and processes.

Guardianship Reporting and Monitoring Program (GRAMP)


  • Guardianship Signature Program
    • Partners: Utah State Bar, Program Board
  • WINGS
    • Leadership: WINGS Executive Committee, WINGS Steering Committee
  • Court Visitor Program

Guardianship Signature Program

The Guardianship Signature Program is a partnership between the Utah State Bar and the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Utah Code 75-5-303 requires a district court judge to appoint an attorney to represent the respondent in a guardianship petition if the respondent does not have counsel of his or her choice. The Guardianship Signature Program provides a roster of attorneys willing to represent adult respondents in guardianship and conservatorship proceedings for no fee, but who may be paid under Section 75-5-303, as circumstances warrant.

What is the role of the attorney?

Each case may be different, but attorneys for the Guardianship Signature Program can expect to:

  • File for the judge's signature on an order appointing the attorney
  • File a notice of appearance
  • Communicate with the client
  • Investigate the nature and extent of the client's claimed incapacity
  • Investigate the nature and extent of the client's estate
  • Investigate alternatives to guardianship and the proper limited authority of a guardian
  • Investigate whether all interested persons have been listed for service of the notice of hearing and petition
  • Investigate the priority of the proposed guardian
  • Assist the client in nominating a guardian or conservator
  • Ensure that the client is present at the hearing unless excused, per Utah Code Section 75-5-303(5)
  • Present the client's proposals and contest proposals, as appropriate
  • Participate in mediation with or on behalf of the client
  • Try the case, if needed
  • Ensure the adequacy of the findings of fact
  • Continue to represent the client until the conditions of Section 75-5-303 have been met.

Interested in Volunteering?

Man in a suit

The program is always looking for more attorneys to participate and signing up is simple! For more details about the program, and steps to take to volunteer, visit: Guardianship Signature Program (GSP).

Additional information:

To learn more about requesting an attorney, visit: Procedure for Appointing a Guardian for an Adult

Court Visitor Program

The Court Visitor Program plays an integral role in the guardianship process and provides an important service in assisting the courts' ability to make informed decisions about guardianship and conservatorship cases. Additionally, the program works to preserve the dignity and respect for persons subject to guardianship by making their voice heard in guardianship and conservatorship proceedings.

The program assigns volunteers, called "Court Visitors," to investigate guardianship and conservatorship cases, under the direction of the judge. Judges frequently need a Court Visitor to conduct interviews and gather more information to help them:

  • Decide whether the protected person may be excused 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 being followed

Due to the nature of guardianship and conservatorship cases, Court Visitors regularly interact with Utah's vulnerable adults and persons with disabilities subject to guardianship.

What is the role of the Court Visitor?

The type of work performed within the Court Visitor Program varies depending on the individual circumstances of the court order. However, Court Visitors can expect to perform one or more of the following:

  • Conduct interviews related to the ability of the individual to attend a guardianship hearing.
  • Investigate the individual's current situation and general well-being.
  • Review records to track down a guardian with whom the court has lost contact.
  • Examine financial documents to ensure the individual's finances and property are being appropriately managed.

Regardless of the assignment, the Court Visitor:

  • is a special appointee of the court with no personal interest in the proceedings;
  • is a neutral party who gathers facts and information from an array of individuals and institutions and provides this essential information to the judge;
  • will investigate and report about the conditions, circumstances, and other matters related to the case, as the court directs; and
  • will be reporting on observable facts and collected information and serving as the "eyes and ears" of the court.

The Court Visitor Program accommodates requests for Court Visitors in all eight court districts, so volunteers are needed throughout the state.

Interested in Volunteering?

People talking

Volunteering for the Court Visitor Program is both interesting and rewarding! The program is always looking for additional volunteers throughout the state. For details on volunteering for the program, visit: Volunteering for the Court Visitor Program (CVP)

Already a Court Visitor?

We strive to provide you with the tools and resources you need to do your work effectively, efficiently, and in accordance with the court. To access volunteer resources and tools, visit: Court Visitor Resources and Forms

Additional information:

To learn more about the program and how to request a Court Visitor, visit: Court Visitor Program (CVP)

WINGS

WINGS stands for the Working Interdisciplinary Network of Guardianship Stakeholders. WINGS groups are court-community partnerships that can drive changes affecting guardianship practices and improve the lives of people who need help in decision-making.

Two people sitting on a bench

There are several WINGS groups throughout the country. What distinguishes WINGS from other task forces on guardianship is:

  • WINGS is broad-based and multi-disciplinary, including judges and court staff, the aging and disability networks, mental health agencies, advocacy groups, medical professionals, service providers, family members and individuals affected by guardianship, and more.
  • WINGS is an ongoing, consensus-driven, problem-solving mechanism. It offers a forum for considering how adult guardianship is working in the state, where the pressure points are, and what solutions might work.

What is the role of Utah WINGS?

The mission of Utah WINGS is to bring together stakeholders from various disciplines to improve the state's guardianship and conservatorship services and processes. To carry out its mission, Utah WINGS:

  • supports policy initiatives for the enhancement of guardianship and related infrastructure;
  • identifies and develops education and outreach opportunities regarding guardianships, conservatorships, and their alternatives;
  • provides training and support to those engaging the guardianship / conservatorship system;
  • identifies resources that may be available in emergency cases where persons of limited decision-making capacity have no guardian;
  • promotes high standards for guardians and conservators;
  • promotes collaboration between Utah WINGS members and other stakeholders; and
  • regularly evaluates the needs and priorities of Utah WINGS's efforts.

Additional information:

For details on Utah WINGS, including bylaws, membership, and meeting minutes, visit: Utah WINGS

Additional Resources

The following links provide additional information related to guardianship:

Contact Information

Guardianship Reporting and Monitoring Program (GRAMP)

Administrative Office of the Courts
450 South State Street
P.O. Box 140241
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
Fax: 801-578-3843

For questions about GRAMP and its subsidiary programs, contact:

Shonna Thomas, GRAMP Program Coordinator
Email: shonnat@utcourts.gov
Phone: 801-578-3925

For specific questions about the Court Visitor Program, contact:

Michelle Wilkes, Court Visitor Program Coordinator
Email: michellew@utcourts.gov OR visitor@utcourts.gov
Phone: 801-238-7030

The Utah State Courts mission is to provide the people an open, fair, efficient, and independent system for the advancement of justice under the law.


Page Last Modified: 3/31/2020
Return to Top

Facebook YouTube Twitter RSS Feeds


Close ×