This is not a substitute for legal advice.  An attorney must be consulted.

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What is a conservatorship?

A conservator and/or guardian is appointed to manage the affairs of a person who does not have the legal capacity to act for himself or herself. The person for whom the conservator or guardian is appointed is commonly called the "ward." The ward may be a minor but more commonly is a person advanced in age. A conservator is generally appointed as the manager of the property and financial affairs of this person. A guardian makes the decisions relating directly to the person, such as place of residence, medical care, daily activities, etc. Oftentimes, the conservator and guardian will be the same person, although this is not always the case. For example, the guardian may be a relative or close personal friend; whereas, the conservator may be a bank or financial institution.

Each state has its own state laws setting forth the procedures for the appointment of the conservator and guardian. Generally, the person wishing to be appointed as conservator or guardian must petition the court and notice must be given to the ward and any other interested parties. A court hearing is then held. If no objections are presented and the judge believes it to be in the best interest of the ward, the petitioner is appointed.  Once appointed, a conservatorship and guardianship are generally court supervised. This means that annual reports must be filed and transactions out of the normal course of daily life, such as a sale of real estate, must be court approved. This court supervision can create greater expense due to the attorney fees and annual filings required. As an alternative, a Power of Attorney executed while an individual has legal capacity, appointing an attorney-in-fact, is many times preferable to a conservatorship or guardianship. See the question on Power of Attorney for more information on this option.

Copyright © 1994 - 2015 by LAWCHEK, LTD.

This is not a substitute for legal advice. An attorney must be consulted.