How Does a Guardianship Differ From a Conservatorship?

As guardianship attorneys at BKBH, we often encounter questions about the differences between a guardianship and conservatorship. While both are legal arrangements made to protect the interests of an incapacitated person, they serve distinct purposes and involve different responsibilities. In this article, we will delve into the differences between the two, and outline the various situations in which they may be necessary. If you need assistance with a guardianship or conservatorship, we encourage you to call our offices to schedule a consultation. 

What Is A Guardianship?

A guardianship is a legal arrangement in which the court appoints an individual (the guardian) to provide for the basic needs of an incapacitated person, referred to as the ward. These needs include necessities such as shelter, clothing, food, and healthcare. Guardianships are often established for elderly individuals who are no longer able to care for themselves, adults who have become severely disabled due to accidents or medical conditions, or minor children whose parents have passed away. 

What Is A Conservatorship?

In contrast, a conservatorship is a legal arrangement that focuses solely on managing the financial affairs of the ward. The appointed conservator is responsible for handling the ward’s financial assets, including investments, property, and other monetary resources. Like guardianships, conservatorships are often put in place for elderly individuals, disabled adults, or minor children who are unable to manage their own finances. 

What Is The Difference Between A Montana Guardianship and Conservatorship?

The primary difference between guardianships and conservatorships lies in the scope of their respective responsibilities. While a guardian is responsible for the overall well-being and care of the ward, a conservator’s duties are limited to financial management. In some cases, the same person may be appointed as both the guardian and conservator for an individual, but this is not always the case. It is essential to consider the specific needs and circumstances of the ward when determining the most appropriate arrangement. 

Guardianships and conservatorships are typically established through a court process. The process begins with the filing of a petition, which is followed by a hearing to determine the necessity of the arrangement and the suitability of the proposed guardian or conservator. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the ward during the proceedings. Once the court has made its decision, the appointed guardian or conservator assumes their legal responsibilities, which may include periodic reporting to the court on the ward’s well-being and financial status. 

In some cases, parents may designate a recommended guardian and conservator for their minor children through a power of attorney or will. While these designations are not legally binding, they carry significant weight in court decisions regarding the appointment of guardians and conservators. It is essential for parents to discuss their wishes and plans with the designated individuals to ensure they are willing and able to assume these responsibilities if necessary. 

Schedule A Consultation With An Experienced Guardianship Lawyer Today!

As guardianship attorneys, we at BKBH are well-versed in the complexities of guardianships and conservatorships. We understand that these legal arrangements are often necessary to protect the best interests of vulnerable individuals, and we are committed to providing compassionate, pragmatic guidance to those who need it. Our team is experienced in navigating the intricacies of the court process, and we strive to ensure that the appointed guardians and conservators are well-equipped to fulfill their roles and responsibilities. 

If you or a loved one is in need of a guardianship or conservatorship, we encourage you to reach out to our offices to schedule a consultation. Our attorneys can help you determine the most appropriate course of action, whether it be pursuing a guardianship, conservatorship, or exploring alternative solutions such as a Power of Attorney or Advance Directive.