What is a Guardian or Conservator?
A Guardian, or Conservator, is someone named by the court to be in charge of making decisions for an incapacitated person. The person who has a Guardian appointed is called a Ward. Guardianship ends when the Ward dies.
A Guardian, or Conservator, is legally responsible for all decisions effecting the daily life and health and well-being of the Ward. Depending on the jurisdiction, they may also have the legal authority to make financial decisions for the Ward.
A Guardianship, or Conservatorship is not the same as a Power of Attorney.
It is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney that specializes in elder law.
How to become a Guardian
A physician must determine that the individual is incapacitated and unable to make decisions on there own.
A spouse, adult child, family member or close friend or attorney seeking to become Guardian must petition the probate court to be named as Guardian. The court has specific guidelines to follow if more than one person applies to be Guardian. Anyone may object to the need for Guardianship or the person seeking to be appointed. The court proceedings are public record.
The probate court judge determines if a Guardianship is needed, and if so, who will be named Guardian.
The probate court often requests the Guardian to post bond and to provide a financial accounting of the Wards assets each year.
Why Should I Care?
It is not an easy process to have a Guardian named.
A judge will choose who will take responsibility for you and it may not be who you would have chosen.