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By Eric Kallio
Founding Attorney

The ability to manage one’s own affairs is among an adult’s most essential rights. However, in some cases, an individual might lack the capacity to make decisions that are in their own best interests. One such circumstance is when an adult has significant developmental differences. 

The Louisiana Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act, Louisiana’s version of the Uniform Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Other Protective Arrangements Act used in some common law jurisdictions, outlines when and how courts can appoint an individual to take control of another person’s personal and financial affairs. If you have a loved one who is affected by developmental differences, a Louisiana guardianship attorney can help you understand your legal options and alternatives to protect your loved one’s best interests. 

What Is a Curatorship?

In Louisiana, a curatorship is a legal arrangement in which a court appoints an individual (the curator) to make decisions on behalf of an adult who lacks the capacity to manage their own affairs (an interdict) due to developmental differences. The curator is responsible for ensuring that the interdict’s personal and financial needs are met and their rights and interests are protected.

When Will the Court Grant a Curatorship?

A court will grant a curatorship when it determines that an adult is unable to make decisions for themselves due to developmental differences and that a curatorship is necessary to protect their well-being. The court will consider evidence such as medical evaluations, testimony from family members and caregivers, and the individual’s own expressed wishes, if any.

Who Can and Cannot Be a Curator?

In most cases, a family member or close friend will petition the court to be appointed as the curator. The court will consider factors such as the proposed curator’s relationship with the individual, their ability to fulfill the responsibilities of the role, and any potential conflicts of interest. Under Louisiana law, the order of preference for curatorship is:

  1. An individual chosen by the interdict in signed writing, if they have the mental capacity to do so
  2. Spouse
  3. Adult child
  4. Parent
  5. Anyone with whom the interdict has lived for six or more months preceding the petition
  6. Any other adult

Certain individuals, such as unemancipated minors, non-residents of Louisiana, convicted felons, and anyone indebted to the interdict, may be disqualified from serving as a curator.

What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Curator?

A curator is responsible for making decisions related to the interdict’s personal care, medical treatment, living arrangements, and financial affairs. This may include managing bank accounts, paying bills, making investment decisions, and ensuring the interdict receives appropriate healthcare and support services. The curator must act in the interdict’s best interests and must report to the court on a regular basis.

What Are the Alternatives?

In some cases, less restrictive alternatives to a curatorship may be appropriate. These might include powers of attorney, healthcare directives, or supported decision-making arrangements in which the individual receives assistance and guidance in making their own decisions. It is important to explore all options and to choose the least restrictive alternative that will still ensure the individual’s safety and well-being.

Contact an Experienced Louisiana Curatorship Attorney

If you have questions about curatorship in Louisiana and whether one would be appropriate for your loved one, the experienced attorneys at Kallio Law Firm, LLC, are ready to help. Our compassionate attorneys know how emotionally challenging it can be to make these kinds of decisions. We will help you understand what the implications of a curatorship might be for your case, and we can help you take the legal steps to establish one if necessary. Contact us today for a confidential consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.

About the Author
Attorney Eric Kallio is the founder of Kallio Law, focusing his practice on estate planning, wills, successions, business law, tax law, aviation law, and veterans benefit law. Eric brings the depth of his professional and educational experience to bear for his clients, advocating passionately on their behalf.