Estate Planning Lawyer | While they differ from state to state, guardianships and conservatorships are two legal documents that allow you to make decisions on behalf of a loved one. Understanding the differences and similarities between these two can help understand elder law and the importance of them.
A guardianship is a legal relationship where a guardian can make legal decisions about the health, safety and residence of the individual. These are beneficial when a person loses mental capacity to legally make decisions, such as an Alzheimer’s diagnoses or traumatic accident. These guardianships are specifically important when a power of attorney is not filed and there is no clear instruction to follow.
On the other hand, a conservatorship is used when the issues are specifically regarding finances and money. These may come into play when a person is at risk of being taken advantage of, can no longer pay bills or need asset protection. A conservator is responsible for protecting and preserving the estate’s funds in accordance with state laws and the incapacity individual’s wishes.
An attorney is generally required to file a petition for a hearing. A guardian can be any competent adult, and doesn’t have to necessarily be someone related to the individual. They are simply required to act in the best interest of the individual, and can be held accountable if they are suspected of abuse or taking advantage of. They are also required to file annual finance reports and proof that they have adequately acted in the ward’s best interest.
Depending on state laws, you might have to seek court approval for certain decisions. Individual states have different rules regarding how a guardian or conservatorship is granted, but speak with a skilled elder law and estate planning lawyer to get a consultation on what is the right move for you. Mortarello Law can assist you in your quest for guardianship. Contact them today for a consultation.