Guardianship And Conservatorship


Guardianships allow a person or entity (the guardian) to make decisions for another (the ward), usually due to incapacity or disability. This can include minor children, below age eighteen, when the parent is unable to care for them. This can also include the elderly when they no longer have the capacity to make their own decisions due to mental or physical illness, as declared by a licensed physician, and when they have not otherwise executed a durable power of attorney. A guardianship is established through a court proceeding as ordered by a probate judge.


A conservatorship works similarly to a guardianship, put in place for a child or mentally incapacitated person by court proceeding. Where a guardianship deals with a person, however, a conservatorship deals with a person’s assets. The conservatorship is usually established at the same time as a guardianship, at the same court hearing, where both conservatorship and guardianship are needed. Usually the same person is named as guardian and conservator. The conservator has specific authority to pay bills, manage money and other assets, and receive income on behalf of the conservatee.

The Process

The party interested in seeking guardianship or conservatorship must petition a probate court to be appointed. Both processes involve preparing paperwork and compiling financial and/or medical information as necessary. The appointed Guardian or Conservator then must provide to the Court a yearly accounting and status of the ward for the duration of the guardianship or conservatorship. An experienced attorney such as Aaron Cook can help make the process much easier.


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