Guardianship and Conservatorship

A quick summary of what they are and who they are for?

Guardianship is an appointment by a court that gives a person (or agency) the decision making authority and responsibility for another adult who is unable to make these decisions on their own.

Conservatorship is an appointment by a court that gives a person (or agency) the decision making authority to manage financial and property matters for another person who is unable to make these decisions on their own.

A court appointed guardianship is meant to protect the physical well-being of the individual (the ward) while a conservatorship is designed to protect the financial health of the individual (the protected person).  Again, each one is appointed by the court and, subsequently, can only be terminated by the court or by death of the ward or protected person.

The court, in an appointment, must find “clear and convincing evidence” that the individual is unable to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his person (in a guardianship) or his property and affairs (in a conservatorship).  The guardian or conservator has a moral obligation to make these decisions for the individual based upon the individual’s values and desires, if they are known.

Please note that there is a difference between a Guardianship and/or Conservatorship and a legal document called a Durable Power of Attorney.  It is usually not necessary to have both a court appointed Guardianship and a Health Care Durable Power of Attorney or both a Conservatorship and a Durable Power of Attorney for Property.

Please contact a Golden Financial Services Advisor to discuss guardianship or conservatorship issues for your Special Needs loved one.  Please note that we are financial advisors and not attorneys and we do not authorize the use of this information as a substitute for legal advice. Sign up today for one of our Memberships and receive a discount on our consulting fees.

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