You are about to file a petition for the appointment of a conservator. Of course, doing this with no background or training in probate law might be a bit daunting. Figuring out the roles and responsibilities, the process in which one undergoes to become a conservator and any other things that go into conservatorship are difficult to understand.

That’s why there’s a guide made available for people to read before filing the petition to become conservator. Let’s take a look at a few important notes – first off, distinguishing a conservator from a guardian.

A conservator is a person appointed by a probate court and given power and responsibility for the estate (financial assets and property) of an adult (called a protected individual).

A guardian is a person appointed by a probate court and given power and responsibility to make certain decisions about the care of another individual. These decisions might include treatment decisions or where the individual should live. If the individual has a reduced life expectancy due to advanced illness, the guardian may have the power to make an informed decision on behalf of the individual regarding receiving, continuing, discontinuing, or refusing medical treatment. A full guardian can make all decisions for the individual. A limited guardian can only make decisions for the individual that the court allows.

So now we know about the difference between a guardian and a conservator. But why would a conservator be needed? The guide, as you would expect, has the answer, which reads:

A conservator may be needed when the individual is unable to manage his or her property and financial affairs effectively because of certain reasons and: 1) he or she has property that will be wasted or used up unless proper management is provided; or 2) funds are needed for the support, care, and welfare of the adult and any of his or her dependents. A mentally competent adult who, because of age or physical limitation, may voluntarily petition the court himself or herself for the appointment of a conservator to assist in managing his/her estate. Some of the reasons that might prevent the individual from being able to manage his or her property and financial affairs are: 1) mental illness or deficiency; 2) physical illness or disability; 3) chronic use of alcohol /other intoxicants; 4) confinement; 5) detention by a foreign power; or 6) disappearance.

Darren Findling of The Probate Pro covers this guide and all of the questions that are in it. Take a look below to learn more.


If you have more questions on conservatorships or guardianships, be sure to give The Probate Pro a call at (833) PROBATE, or visit us at