How to Know When a Loved One Needs a Guardian or Conservator
Caring for loved ones as they become unable to care for themselves can bring about difficult legal decisions.
You may have a loved one that is no longer able to make good decisions with their health and finances.
Guardianship and Conservatorship can help you provide for someone who’s incapable of managing their financial affairs or personal healthcare needs.
Many of the clients we assist do not know what a Guardian or Conservator is nor when the appropriate time to pursue Guardianship or Conservatorship is.
Here are some basics that may help:
What is a Guardian and Conservator?
Guardian: A person appointed by the court who has the legal authority to care for the personal interests of another person. Usually a guardian is appointed when that person is incapable of caring for his or her own interests due to incapacity or disability.
Conservator: A person appointed by the courts when a person is incapable of caring for his or her own financial interests due to minority, incapacity, or disability. The Conservator has authority over the income and assets of a protected person.
When does your loved one need a Guardian or Conservator?
Your loved one needs a conservator when they are no longer able to manage their financial resources effectively due to mental or cognitive illness (including Dementia), mental retardation, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs or controlled substances, chronic intoxication, confinement, detention by a foreign power or disappearance.
Your loved one needs a guardian when they lack the capacity to make adequate decisions involving their own care and safety. They become unable to make adequate decisions when their ability to receive and evaluate information effectively or to communicate decisions is impaired to such an extent that the person lacks the capacity to meet the essential requirements for their physical health or safety-such as providing themselves health care, food, shelter, clothing and personal hygiene.
Who can serve as conservator or guardian?
The conservator can be an individual (family member or trusted friend), bank, trust company, or professional fiduciary. The conservator is empowered to take possession of the protected person´s assets and income, and provides for payment of the protected person´s expenses.
The Guardian can be anyone suitable and willing to serve. It can be a spouse, adult child, other relative, or partner. If none of the aforementioned are available or are not suitable to serve, the court may look to other options such as professional fiduciary.
For more information on Guardianship and Conservatorship contact a Senior One Source Senior Living Advisor for a list of local Elder Law Attorney’s www.SeniorOneSource.net