Guardians and Conservators

A Guardianship is a legal proceeding appointing a guardian when a person is adjudged incapacitated.  Guardianships are one of two types: a guardianship for a minor or a guardianship for an adult.  

Guardians for adults are necessary when an adult is unable to manage his or her personal affairs. This may happen when a child with special needs such as severe autism, mental retardation, or severe mental illness not controlled with medication obtains the age of 18 or when an adult has a medical condition that renders him or her unable to manage their affairs.  Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease often necessitates the appoint of a guardian.

The question that will be addressed by the court, and which will determine whether a guardian is appointed, is: whether the proposed ward lacks capacity to meet essential requirements for food, clothing, shelter, safety or other care such that serious physical injury, illness, or disease is likely to occur?

In the case of an adult ward, you will need medical evidence: either a letter from a doctor stating the need for a guardian, a doctor’s deposition or having a doctor present at trial to testify as to the need for a guardian. 

As part of the guardianship proceeding, a lawyer will be appointed to represent the proposed ward.  The ward will have the right to contest the proceeding if he or she is competent and to request a jury trial.

Dean Law Office is experienced in guardianship law.

A Conservatorship is a legal proceeding filed to protect the property of an impaired person or a minor who is called a conservatee.  Generally when an individual is appointed as guardian for another individual they are also appointed the conservator for that individual. After a hearing to determine whether a conservatorship is necessary, a court order may be issued. If the court appoints a person as conservator it is his or her job to manage the conservatee’s property.  A conservator generally will be required to file an inventory and a detailed annual accountings with the court. A conservator is necessary when a minor has settled a personal injury case for more than $10,000.00 

Before the court will issue you Letters of Conservatorship, you must be bonded unless the court waives the bond.  A bond is similar to an insurance policy and is intended to protect the conservatee’s property should the conservator mismanage the estate.  Whether a proposed conservator can obtain a bond, is generally based on whether that person has a good credit history.  Thus, if the proposed conservator has a history of credit problems, it is unlikely a bond can be obtained. 

The question that will be addressed by the court is: does the proposed conservatee lack the ability to manage financial resources or is he or she a minor?

The evidence presented to the court in the case of a guardianship or conservatorship must be clear and convincing evidence.

Dean Law Office is experienced in conservatorship law.

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Margaret Dean 816-753-3100