People often have difficulty understanding the difference between a guardian and conservator. A conservator is a person appointed by the probate court to manage the assets of another person. A guardian is a person appointed by the probate court to protect the legal rights of another person.
A guardian is a person appointed by a probate court and given the power and responsibility to make certain decisions about the care of the protected person. These decisions might include treatment decisions or where the protected person should live. The guardian’s powers are limited to decisions regarding the care and custody of the protected person.
A guardian may be needed when a person is unable to manage their personal affairs because of mental illness, dementia, age, infirmity, physical illness, disability, or chronic use of alcohol or intoxicants.
When the parent(s) have permitted a minor to reside with another person a guardian may be appointed. When a minor is unmarried and parental rights have been terminated or suspended for some reason a guardian may be appointed.
A guardian is responsible for the protected person’s care, custody, and control. The guardian has a duty to achieve the best possible state of well-being for the protected person.
To have a guardian or a conservator appointed for a protected person, a petition must be filed with the probate court in the county in which the protected person resides. Any adult interested in the person’s well-being can file the petition.
After the petition is filed, a hearing will be held within 3 or 4 weeks. If there are no objections to the petition and the court finds that it is in the best interest of the protected person, a guardian and/or conservator will be appointed at the hearing. If there are objections to the petition, the matter will ordinarily be set for an evidentiary hearing at a later date. This can prolong the appointment process.
An attorney is the only qualified person that can assist with the filing and administration of the file. This reduces the time, energy, and frustration that a Guardian/Conservator may experience during the process. The Probate Pro can assist you with the legal services associated with a Conservatorship and Guardianship estate