Conservatorships are a formal probate process on behalf of a person who is not able to manage his/her finances. In many cases, conservatorships are used to prevent an elderly person suffering from Alzheimer, dementia or other disease from depleting his/her personal savings and assets; however, there is no age requirement. A court can appoint a conservator for a minor who suddenly comes into money or an adult with any type of problem which prevents them from being able to manage their finances.
Guardianships on the other hand are when a person needs help handling matters involving daily life, such as making appropriate decisions concerning their food, clothing, shelter and health.
A person can have a guardian, a conservator or both. The same person does not need to be appointed as guardian and conservator if both are needed.
The person who has a guardian or conservator appointed is called the “Protectee” or “Ward.” A Protectee is presumed lack the capacity to enter into contracts. However, it may not prevent the Protectee from certain activities such as voting, creating a Will or giving informed consent, depending on the court order making the appointment.
There are alternatives to Guardianships and Conservatorships if the situation does not warrant such a drastic action. A durable power of attorney or a living trust are examples of other legal measures that may be more appropriate, depending on the capacity of the individual.
Our attorneys can help you understand the options available to you given your specific circumstances. Our attorneys have the knowledge to guide you through this potentially complex area of law