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Guardianship and Conservatorship

What is a guardianship and conservatorship?

Both a guardianship and a conservatorship aim to assist an individual that cannot act on his/her own behalf (whether an adult or child).

A conservatorship is established when it becomes apparent that an individual cannot act on his or her own to manage finances.  The court appointed conservator is then able to make financial decisions on behalf of the protected party. The conservator is obligated to make annual reports to the court and is held accountable for the protected party’s financial affairs.

A guardianship is similarly necessary when the protected party/ward is unable to manage his/her well-being and personal care.  The guardian can be the same individual as the conservator or someone different. Guardians are also obligated to report to the court on the condition of the protected party/ward.  Guardians are tasked with make important decisions about the types of assistance the protected party needs and what type of living arrangements best suit the protected party.

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What the Court Requires

When appointing a conservator and/or guardian, the court will require certain information prior to making a decision. First, the court needs to know the condition(s) of the protected party that requires a conservator and/or guardian. Second, the proposed conservator and/or guardian almost always is required to submit a background check and provide a recent credit history. Lastly, the court will appoint a visitor to check in with the protected party and set the matter for a hearing.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does the appointment of a conservator and/or guardian void a power of attorney?
A valid power of attorney is not voided by the appointment of a conservator and/or guardian unless the court orders otherwise. However, a guardian and/or conservator has the power to make important and often difficult decisions, such as placing a family member in an assisted living facility.

Do you receive compensation for being a conservator and/or guardian?
Compensation for both the conservator/guardian as well as counsel can be arranged. Such compensation must be disclosed to the court and must be reported along with the other annually reported information, such compensation must be reasonable.

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