Guardianship and conservatorship are legal arrangements that grant authority to an individual or entity to make decisions and act on behalf of another person who is unable to manage their own affairs. These arrangements are typically put in place to protect individuals who are incapacitated, such as minors, elderly adults with diminished mental capacity, or individuals with disabilities.
Guardianship refers to the legal authority granted to a person, known as a guardian, to make personal and healthcare decisions for someone who is deemed incapacitated. The incapacitated person is referred to as a ward or protected person. The guardian is responsible for ensuring the ward’s well-being, making decisions about their living arrangements, medical treatment, education, and other personal matters. The court typically oversees the appointment of a guardian and may require periodic reports to ensure the ward’s best interests are being upheld.
Conservatorship, on the other hand, pertains to the legal authority granted to a person, referred to as a conservator, to manage the financial and property affairs of an incapacitated individual. The conservator is responsible for handling the ward’s assets, paying bills, managing investments, and making financial decisions on their behalf. Similar to guardianship, conservatorship is established through a court process, and the conservator is accountable to the court and may be required to provide periodic accountings of the ward’s finances.
Both guardianship and conservatorship involve significant responsibilities and duties. The court typically determines the need for guardianship or conservatorship based on evidence and evaluations of the individual’s capacity and best interests. The court’s decision may be influenced by medical assessments, testimony from relevant parties, and other supporting documentation.
It’s worth noting that guardianship and conservatorship are considered to be restrictive measures as they involve the limitation of an individual’s autonomy and decision-making capacity. Therefore, courts generally strive to tailor these arrangements to the specific needs and capabilities of the incapacitated person. In some cases, limited guardianship or conservatorship may be granted, allowing the individual to retain certain rights and decision-making abilities while receiving support in areas where they require assistance.
Here at Ashton Horton Mullins, we are experienced with both guardianship and conservatorship. Schedule a consult with us today!