On July 5 we all go to court for the hearing on Maggie's pending conservatorship. Because she is 18 and no longer a minor, she needs someone appointed to make her decisions. The likely candidates are Steve and me and we are asking the judge to appoint me.
As part of the process, a court investigator came to the house the other day to get the information she needs to prepare a report to the judge so he/she can make an informed decision. The woman was lovely and treated Maggie with great respect. She explained to Maggie that we wanted the courts permission to continue to take care of her and had to ask Maggie if she agreed. Maggie signed yes.
The woman looked to me to make sure that was a yes and I nodded. Maggie showed her again how she says yes and no. I was smiling to myself because there is no way on God's green earth that Maggie understands what a conservatorship is, or whether she needs one, but we have to go through this. Besides, Maggie thoroughly enjoyed being the center of attention and wanted to entertain us both. The investigator seemed to get that too. The questions continued:
"Do you think your mom is the best person to make decisions for you."
Sometimes a person doesn't want someone else to make decisions for them and they need an attorney to tell the judge that. Do you want your own attorney?
Maggie pauses, grins and then signs YES.
Ok, here we go.
The woman looked at me again and I just smiled wanly and said "Do with that what you will, but I do not believe that Maggie is comprehending all of this." The investigator agreed saying, "I'm not sure that was an informed 'yes.'" I told her that Maggie often says yes just to please people. Maggie was laughing her head off at this, and I thought I caught a bit of a mischievous glint in her eye. I wondered what she was up to.
"Do you know what a lawyer does?"
Do you want mom to be your lawyer?
(Giant Grin from Maggie and then ) NO!
Do you want Dad to be your lawyer?
(same grin) NO!
Now Maggie was beside herself with laughter.
I just sat there trying not to laugh as did the investigator. She said she will explain things to the judge and the judge will decided if Maggie needs appointed counsel. Given Maggies answers, counsel may well be appointed. I, of course, have no say in the matter. Technically, Maggie and I are adverse parties if she takes the position she doesn't want this. The question is, can she knowingly take that position. I don't think she can - in fact I know she cannot, but I am not the decision maker for this particular question. If the court wants to appoint counsel to represent her, that's perfectly fine with me, though I believe it will be a waste of taxpayer money. In Maggie's case it will not effect the outcome because she obviously needs someone to be in charge.
After the woman left Maggie was very pleased with herself. I just looked at her and said, "Did you enjoy that?" Maggie YES. Ok, let me ask you again, Do you want mom to be your lawyer? YES.
I just looked at her. "Too late, chicky. I have a conflict of interest. Besides, you can't afford me." She thought that was hilarious, even though I know she had no idea what I was talking about. .
Maggie was quite proud of herself.