Probate and Dependency Law
Probate law is the branch of the law dealing with settling the affairs of the person who has passed away. However, because the probate judges are accustomed to dealing with financial issues the states have expanded their role substantially. Now, in addition to settling the estates of deceased persons, the probate courts handle guardianships, conservatorships, compromises of minor’s claims, even adoptions and name changes.
Powers of Attorney
At other times a person may need to give special powers to another person. If you are facing surgery, or if you are assigned to work outside of the country or far away from your family, you may need to give someone a “power of attorney”to take care of financial and medical affairs. Arranging for a Power of Attorney may be able to solve these problems.
Guardianships and Dependency Proceedings
The Dependency Court is a specialized Court dealing with the cases of children whose parents who are accused of being unfit. If Child Protective Services removes a child from a home, then the case will be handled in the Dependency Court. But if Child Protective Services is not involved, most disputes about custody where one of the parties is NOT the parent are handled in the Probate Court.
In the Dependency Court, an attorney is appointed for the parents. But if you feel that the court appointed attorney is not responsive enough, or seems to be to busy to work on your case, you can retain your own attorney.