Update for those with the patience to read all this (Hi, EvenKeel!)
I stopped by my estate lawyer's office this morning and asked for him to call me back for a quick phone consult. When he kindly called me back, I ran through the main questions. He confirmed what you all have been telling me: "Nobody can force you to serve as a Guardian..." So that was a good little start!
He told me the lawyer's office who called me does not normally handle social service agency cases, so he had no idea who they are representing, but he said the same as some of you have mentioned: "Sounds like somebody filed a Petition for Guardianship and by law, they have to notify at least 3 family members." I told him the caller hadn't used the word "petition" but said "the daughter had asked for Guardianship." Yet he was as puzzled as we all are why they would want me to come in to their office unless, he offered, it was "so they can give you some information about the process." He thinks they will probably mail it, most likely first class (I asked if it would be sent Registered Mail. He thinks only a Summons would get sent Registered, if he were doing it. But added that every law office is different.)
So there is still a lot of mystery hanging over my head about this.
He told me "But you don't have to do (respond to) anything..." Yet when I said several people advised me not to take further calls or communications from that law firm and asked if that was the best way to "stay out of it," he replied "I can't tell you what to do, you will have to handle that however you decide." (Gee thanks, boss. Sidestepped that one!)
I asked if he were to send a letter to that law firm telling them his client wants to remain out of the loop, would that help? He said "It isn't necessary. And repeated "You don't have to do anything." Still unconvinced, I flat-out asked "Have you ever seen a case where an unwilling person was appointed Guardian?" He said "I have never seen that." He has been in practice here for over 40 years doing estate law.
I remembered to ask for the meaning of "Pleading to become part of the case" and asked if that is in the law just for someone who objects to the petition? He told me "A Pleading can be anything." He acknowledged I could even file a Pleading to be excluded from this mess, if I were to be Summoned. Sigh...
I brought up I'd seen the state Code specifying the Court makes the decision on who gets Guardianship and to make that decision, the Court must consider things like suitability and geographic proximity. I worry if my niece is half a country away, a judge might decide we'd be 'better suited' to be Guardian and I didn't want to be dragged into it and have to go on record about all the reasons that would be a disaster. He knows our history, but he just replied "The Judge decides..." Which wasn't a very reassuring thing to hear.
Y'all, here's my take on what he was trying to tell me, see if you think this sounds right: if "I cannot be forced to serve," but "the Judge decides," maybe my lawyer meant the Judge will either accept or reject that Petition for Guardianship, but the Judge's decision doesn't mean the Judge can willy-nilly pick another person either, just reject her Petition or Accept it? Sound right?
By the way, that law firm hasn't tried to call either me or my H back today. So that's what I know at this stage...not much more than I did yesterday! :|