72-5-312. Who may be guardian -- priorities. (1) Any competent person or a suitable institution, association, or nonprofit corporation or any of its members may be appointed guardian of an incapacitated person.
(2) Persons who are not disqualified have priority for appointment as guardian in the following order:
(a) a person, association, or private, nonprofit corporation nominated by the incapacitated person if the court specifically finds that at the time of the nomination the incapacitated person had the capacity to make a reasonably intelligent choice;
(b) the spouse of the incapacitated person;
(c) an adult child of the incapacitated person;
(d) a parent of the incapacitated person, including a person nominated by will or other writing signed by a deceased parent;
(e) any relative of the incapacitated person with whom the incapacitated person has resided for more than 6 months prior to the filing of the petition;
(f) a relative or friend who has demonstrated a sincere, longstanding interest in the welfare of the incapacitated person;
(g) a private association or nonprofit corporation with a guardianship program for incapacitated persons, a member of the private association or nonprofit corporation approved by the association or corporation to act as a guardian for the incapacitated person, or a person included on an official list of the association or organization as willing and suitable to act as guardian of incapacitated persons;
(h) a person nominated by the person who is caring for the incapacitated person or paying benefits to the incapacitated person.
(3) The priorities established in subsection (2) are not binding, and the court shall select the person, association, or nonprofit corporation that is best qualified and willing to serve.
(4) Except as provided in subsection (5), the court may not appoint a person, institution, association, or nonprofit corporation to be the guardian of an incapacitated person if the person, institution, association, or nonprofit corporation:
(a) provides or is likely to provide during the guardianship substantial services to the incapacitated person in the professional or business capacity other than in the capacity of guardian;
(b) is or is likely to become during the guardianship period a creditor of the incapacitated person, other than in the capacity of guardian;
(c) has or is likely to have during the guardianship period interests that may conflict with those of the incapacitated person; or
(d) is employed by a person, institution, association, or nonprofit corporation that would be disqualified under subsections (4)(a) through (4)(c).
(5) If the court determines that there is no qualified person willing and able to serve as guardian, the court may appoint an agency of the state or federal government that is authorized or required by statute to provide services to the person or to persons suffering from the kind of disability from which the incapacitated person is suffering or a designee of the agency, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (4). Whenever an agency is appointed guardian, the court may also appoint a limited guardian to represent a specified interest of the incapacitated person. Whenever a limited guardian is appointed pursuant to this subsection, the specified interest of the incapacitated person is the sole responsibility of the limited guardian and is removed from the responsibility of the agency.