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Are guardianships and conservatorships the same?

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2024 | Guardianship

Are you confused about the differences between guardianships and conservatorships? Legally, these two entities are quite similar and are often used interchangeably.

Educating yourself on their differences can help ensure you make informed decisions when planning your estate. Generally, conservators have control over adults’ financial decisions, while guardians are responsible for minors’ and incapacitated adults’ everyday care.

What are guardianships?

Guardianships involve the appointment of an individual to care for and make decisions on behalf of someone deemed unable to do so themselves. This often applies to minors or individuals with incapacitating conditions. The primary aim is to ensure the well-being, safety and proper care of the person under guardianship.

One crucial aspect of guardianship is decision-making authority. A legal guardian typically has the power to make choices related to their ward’s health, education and overall welfare.

What are conservatorships?

While similar to guardianships, conservatorships center primarily on managing the financial affairs of an individual who is incapable of doing so independently. This legal arrangement is often established for adults who may be elderly, incapacitated or otherwise unable to manage their financial matters on their own.

The key responsibility of a conservator is overseeing an individual’s financial assets, including income, expenses, investments and property. This can help ensure the individual’s financial well-being and safeguard against potential exploitation.

Understanding the distinctions between guardianships and conservatorships is vital when navigating the complexities of legal arrangements for individuals who are unable to manage their affairs independently. By recognizing the specific roles and responsibilities of each, one can make informed decisions to help ensure the best interests and well-being of those under legal protection.