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T Jeff Stein Probate Attorney What is a guardianship and a conservatorship? | T Jeff Stein Probate Attorney

What is a guardianship and a conservatorship?

     As discussed in one of my previous posts, the appointment of an agent such as through a durable power of attorney can eliminate the need for a formal guardianship/conservatorship proceeding if the person becomes incapacitated.  If, however, a person fails to plan for the possibility of incapacity, it can have significant consequences.  For those individuals who are truly incapacitated and have not appointed an agent or attorney-in-fact to make decisions for them, the only option is to file a petition for appointment of a guardian and/or conservator in the probate court of the county where the incapacitated individual lives.   A guardianship is a relationship where the guardian has sole responsibility for making decisions regarding all aspects of the incapacitated person’s life (living arrangements, health, safety and medical care, for example).   Alternatively, a conservatorship is a court-appointed relationship wherein the conservator makes all financial decisions for the incapacitated person.  A conservator bears the primary responsibility for managing an incapacitated person’s estate which includes paying bills, selling or purchasing property,the  investment or reinvestments of assets. Often times, it is imperative that actions regarding an incapacitated person’s care or financial situation be taken immediately but a guardianship/conservatorship petition can take time to be approved by the probate court.  The pre-emptive step of executing a durable power of attorney can eliminate the need and expense of a formal court proceeding. 

Disclaimer:  This post is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice.  Please contact our office for an estate planning consultation to speak with a qualified attorney. 

 

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