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Guardianship           &  Conservator

Court Room
Elderly couple
Image by Tingey Injury Law Firm

Court Appointment Guardianship / Conservatorship

Guardianship is established by a court order. The court grants the guardian authority and responsibility to act on behalf of another person. The relationship is fiduciary, which means that the guardian is obliged to act in the best interests of the ward. The court supervises the guardian to assure proper actions on behalf of the ward.

The courts can assign 3 different types of guardianship:

Guardianship over the person: this type of guardianship means the guardian is responsible for the well-belling and care of the client.  The guardian will be able to make personal and medical decisions.

Guardianship over the estate: This type of guardianship allows the guardian to make financial decisions for their client.  Court approval is typically needed to spend or sell any of the person’s assets even after the guardianship is granted.

Guardianship over the person and the state: This type of guardianship allows the guardian to make personal medical and financial decisions for their client.

              What does a
Court-Appointed Guardian

 A guardian is responsible for managing & coordinating the tasks and decisions their client is unable to manage on their own, including but not limited,  living arrangements, healthcare decisions, and financial management.

Some common responsibilities of a guardian include:

  • Prudently managing the adult’s assets and investments

  • Selling property and liquidating assets to cover medical and living expenses

  • Paying the adult’s bills

  • Determining where the adult will live

  • Monitoring the adult’s living situation to ensure proper care

  • Accessing the adult’s medical records

  • Consulting with the client's doctors and making important medical decisions regarding treatment and care

  • Filing the adult’s tax return

Types of 

  • Limited guardian – the court grants limited power to the guardian to make specific decisions about personal care or finances. This type of guardianship is often used when the person is still capable of making some decisions on their own.

  • Plenary guardian – the court grants full decision-making responsibilities regarding personal care, finances, and estate matters. This guardianship is applied when the person’s mental or physical limitations prohibit their ability to make these important decisions.

  • Temporary guardian – in cases where immediate action is necessary due to safety concerns, a court can grant temporary guardianship to last up to 60 days while the final legal proceedings are being completed.

      Restrictive Alternatives
           to Guardianship

 1. Representative payee

2. Advanced Directives

 3. Power of Attorney(POW)    designation to a person who holds the right to make decisions on behalf of someone else

  4. Limited or Temporary          Guardianship

  • Note
    Appointment as the guardian over an estate does not give the guardian the absolute power to control the protected person’s assets and finances. The guardian must obtain the court’s approval before spending any of the client’s money and/or selling any property. Guardians are required to be bonded and typically must put the excess liquid funds in a “blocked account” where it cannot be accessed without a court order.

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