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News & Press: Montana Lawyer

Guardianship program plotting out a brighter future for MT families

Thursday, December 7, 2017  
Posted by: Joe Menden
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Did the article in November’s Montana Lawyer about assisting special needs families with guardianships resonate with you? The program titled Montana Guardianship Legal Assistance Program (MT-GLAP), was envisioned by Larry Riley and Tom Lynaugh after their many experiences doing pro bono guardianship cases for families of limited income who desperately needed help planning the future of their special needs children. The program is a collaborative effort between Lynaugh, Riley, the State Bar of Montana, Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) and Statewide Pro Bono Coordinator Patty Fain.

There is no public guardianship system in Montana and the need for attorneys outstrips by far the limited number of attorneys currently available and trained to provide these services. We hope you will step up and offer your assistance. These guardianships must take into account the special circumstances of each family, and to invite attorneys who might not be familiar with this area of law, Riley and Lynaugh will be presenting a webinar hosted by MLSA on Jan. 17, 2018, during the noon hour. You can register for the webinar here.

MT-GLAP is comprised of two distinct goals: 1) To recruit, train, and support Montana attorneys to provide legal representation in guardianship cases; and 2) To match qualified attorneys for either the petitioner or the ward with people seeking assistance with guardianship cases. If you agree to offer your service to meet this critical legal need, the program will help you every step of the way. You will receive guardianship specific continuing legal education at no cost beginning with the webinar described above. You will also be provided forms, reference materials, mentoring, and support. The program will provide you with the law for each part of the guardianship process, all of the forms needed, sample letters and a detailed explanation of all of the procedure. Representing the guardian will take approximately 4-6 hours over a 6-8 week period of time. Representing the ward will take approximately 2-3 hours. Click here to learn more about this program.

In addition to offering your services pro bono to low-income families unable to pay, you may also choose inclusion in a Modest Means and full-pay, sliding-scale referral panel. Pro Bono and Modest Means cases are screened for financial eligibility and placed through MLSA. Modest Means and full pay cases are administered by the State Bar of Montana.

In order to sign up for the program please visit this link. For questions about the program please contact Patty Fain, Statewide Pro Bono Coordinator at
pfain@mt.gov or 406-794-7824.

Want to help?

Join the Jan. 17 webinar
Riley and Lynaugh will be presenting a webinar hosted by Montana Legal Services Association on Jan. 17, 2018, during the noon hour, to give more information about the Guardianship Legal Assistance Program. Register for the webinar here.