Guardianships and Conservatorships
We can assist you in the following areas (and more):
Guardianships are court proceedings in which a person is appointed by the Court to have legal authority over a person – where they live, what medical care is authorized, etc.
Conservatorships are court proceedings in which a person is appointed by the Court to have legal authority over a person’s finances – to pay the protected person’s bills and to invest the protected person’s funds.
Both a Guardian and a Conservator are fiduciaries, which mean that they have a special relationship and legal duty to make decisions that are best for the protected person.
Minor children may need a guardianship if their parents are deceased, or are otherwise unable or unwilling to parent their children. This may happen when the parents die unexpectedly in an accident or when the parent’s parenting abilities are severely compromised by drugs, alcohol, or mental disability. Generally a close family relative will apply to the Court to be the minor child’s guardian. Once appointed, the Guardian usually will have the minor children live with them and the Guardian will make decisions for the minor child for school enrollment, medical decisions, activity decisions, etc. A Guardianship will also allow the Guardian to place the child on the Guardians’ medical insurance policy, if needed.
Conservatorships over children are generally only necessary if either the parents of the children have died with an estate or there is a personal injury settlement because of some damage or injury to the child or to the child’s parents.
Guardianships over adult mentally disabled persons may be necessary when a person is mentally incapacitated to such an extent that they cannot make decisions as to their care which jeopardizes their health, safety or welfare. Guardianships over elderly persons are the most common guardianships. Guardianships over an elderly person may be necessary if the protected person becomes disabled due to dementia, stroke or some other medical condition so that they are no longer mentally competent to make decisions regarding their living accommodations and medical decisions.
Conservatorships over adult mentally disabled persons are usually only necessary if the person has an estate which needs to be managed for their benefit. Conservatorships over elderly persons are common if the person has not already executed either a durable power of attorney or established a revocable living trust and they have funds which must be managed for their benefit. If the person is not competent to handle their finances for paying bills, investing their funds appropriately or “taking care of business”, a conservatorship will need to be established to give a person legal authority to make financial decisions and to have control over the protected person’s property.