Guardianship & Conservatorship
A guardian and conservator are appointed by a Judge to manage the affairs of an incapacitated individual. The Court proceeding is handled in a manner to protect the civil liberties and autonomy of the individual to be protected and there is a court-appointed attorney for the individual. A physician’s report is usually obtained. Once a guardianship and conservatorship are in place, they continue under court supervision with annual reports.
Guardianship authority includes the right to make medical decisions for someone and to decide where someone lives.
Conservatorship authority includes the right to manage the estate, or financial affairs for someone.
Individuals with cognitive impairment, such as dementia, may need guardianship and conservatorship, but guardianship and conservatorship could have been avoided by signing a proper Durable General Power of Attorney and a Health Care Directive in advance of the infirmity.
It is common for a guardian to be appointed for an individual with developmental disabilities when he or she reaches the age of 18.