What are guardianships and conservatorships?

Adult Daughter with FatherIf an adult becomes incapable of providing for their care or protecting their physical or financial s  safety due to a mental disability, the court will appoint a substitute decision maker, either a guardian  or conservator or both.  You must go through the Court to have a guardian and conservator named.    Even if you nominate someone to be your guardian in a Power of Attorney or Advanced Healthcare  Directive, this person will still need to be approved by the court.


A guardian is a person appointed by a court to make decisions about the personal well-being —  residence, health care, nutrition, education, personal care, etc. — of an incapacitated adult, who is  called a “protected person.”


A conservator is a person or institution appointed by the court to make decisions about a protected person’s estate.  The protected person’s estate includes all of his or her property, business and personal. Some examples are income (such as wages, an annuity, a pension, and Social Security or other government benefits), real property (buildings and land), and personal property (furniture, cash, bank accounts, certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds, motor vehicles, and other valuables). A conservator must use reasonable care, skill and caution to manage and invest the estate to meet the protected person’s needs over his or her expected life.

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