GUARDIANSHIPS, CONSERVATORSHIPS, AND ELDERLAW

A Guardian is appointed by the Probate Court to make personal decisions for a minor child or incapacitated adult. The Guardian is authorized to make decisions regarding medical treatment, hospitalization, and residence.

A Conservator is appointed by the Probate Court to manage the assets of a minor child or incapacitated adult.

The same person can be appointed to both roles, or different people can be appointed for each.

The minor child or incapacitated adult is called the ward. The ward is under the protection of the court, and the Guardian and Conservator must report to the Court.

When filing for Guardianship of an incapacitated adult, the Petition must show that the proposed ward lacks sufficient capacity to make or communicate significant responsible decisions concerning health or safety. The Petition for Conservatorship must show that the proposed ward lacks sufficient capacity to make or communicate significant responsible decisions concerning the management of his or her property.

A person appointed as a Guardian is required to see that the ward is adequately fed, clothed, sheltered and cared for, and receives all necessary medical attention. The Guardian must file a report with the Court each year, describing the ward’s living situation and health, and what circumstances have changed.

A person appointed as Conservator must be bonded. The Conservator is required to file an inventory of the ward’s property and a plan for managing, expending, and distributing the property on the ward’s behalf. The Conservator may not spend any of the ward’s funds for any purpose except as set forth in the Court approved budget, without getting an Order from the Court. Each year the Conservator must file an annual return with the Court.