Guardianships & Conservatorships
Guardianships and Conservatorships are areas of probate law that address the needs of individuals who do not have capacity to make decisions to protect their health, safety, welfare and assets because of injury, disease, congenital defect or if the individual is a minor.
- A Guardian is a person appointed by the Court for managing the care and custody of a person declared legally incapacitated. A person is determined to be legally incapacitated if they are unable to provide for their own food, shelter, safety or other care such that serious physical injury, illness or disease is likely to occur. A person declared legally incapacitated is known as a ward. Serving as a court-appointed guardian does not make the guardian legally responsible for the debts of their ward. A guardian may also be appointed to care for a minor if his or her natural guardian is unable, unwilling, or unfit to provide for the minor’s needs.
- A Conservator is a person appointed by the Court to take charge of the property or manage the financial affairs of a person who has been declared legally disabled or is a minor. A person declared legally disabled is known as a protectee. A conservator has fiduciary duties to their protectee and will likely be required to post a surety bond to ensure the faithful discharge of their duties.
When to start
The need for a guardian or conservator can happen at any time in a person’s life, whether a minor or adult. A minor may need a guardian if they lose both parents, or a conservator if a minor receives funds or assets over a certain amount. An adult may need a guardian or conservator if he or she is no longer able to make decisions regarding his or her care or finances because of a physical or mental condition or disease.
Where to begin
When a friend or family member is unable to make decisions regarding their care or finances, call our office and set up a complimentary consultation (for new clients) with one of our attorneys.
What to bring
To get the most out of your initial consultation, you should bring:
- Copies of current Estate Planning documents including, Wills, Trusts, General Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney
- Medical Records with Diagnoses
- Medical Records that State Ability to Care for Themselves
- Financial Information Including a List of Assets, Income and Expenses
- Names and contact information for family members
What to expect
You will meet with one of our experienced attorneys who will review the individual situation, your goals and expectations, and discuss the options that may be available to accomplish those goals. Often this first meeting is an opportunity for you to learn, ask questions and identify the decisions that will need to be made. Additional consultations are scheduled as needed so you can feel comfortable that you understand your choices and how best to proceed.
We don’t stop there
While many firms assist clients with establishing guardianships and conservatorships, we believe it is just as important to help our clients carry out their duties and responsibilities by assisting with fiduciary bonds, budgets and allowances, annual settlements and educating them on their duties and responsibilities as guardians and conservators.