Appointment of Guardian & Conservator
A Guardian is a person the Court appoints to be responsible for the custody and care of the Ward (either a minor or adult incapacitated person). A Guardian has the same powers, rights and duties with respect to the Ward that a parent has with regard to an unemancipated minor child. A common example of a Guardianship is when both of the minor child’s parent have passed, it becomes necessary for the minor child to be cared for by a third party. Another common example is when an adult becomes disabled or incapacitated and does not have an Estate Plan in place. With an Estate Plan the Health Care Power of Attorney could have been used to manage the placement and well-being of the Ward, but instead a Guardian has to be appointed by the court, to obtain the legal authority to act on behalf of the incapacitated adult.
A Conservator is a person the Court appoints to be responsible for the estate and financial affairs of the Ward, if the Ward owns money or property that requires management and protection. A common example of a Conservatorship is when someone becomes incapacitated and does not have an Estate Plan in place. With an Estate Plan, the Financial Power of Attorney could have been used to manage the incapacitated person’s finances, but instead a Conservator has to be appointed by the Court, to obtain the legal authority necessary to act on behalf of the incapacitated adult.
An incapacitated adult can be someone injured in an accident in need of temporary and/or permanent assistance or someone that can no longer manage his/her affairs simply due to old age.
The Guardian and/or Conservator do not have to be the same person.