Conservatorship vs Guardianship: Don’t Mess This Up

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Conservatorship vs Guardianship - Guardianship vs Conservatorship - Conservator Definition - What Is Guardianship - Guardianship and Conservatorship

What are the differences between conservatorship vs guardianship?

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • what is conservatorship vs guardianship
  • how they both work
  • when you need BOTH of them
  • how much they cost

Let’s dig in.

You don’t want to set up guardianship or conservatorship incorrectly. Doing so can mean that you lose control over the care of your children or parents. Fill out the form below to make sure your rights are protected. 

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Conservatorship vs Guardianship

This section is covering:

  • what is conservatorship
  • what is guardianship

Key Takeaways For Conservatorship vs Guardianship

  • A guardian takes care of an incapacitated person. 
  • Guardianship can be conservatorship if the role includes managing finances.
  • A conservator manages an incapacitated person’s finances. 

What Is A Conservator

Conservatorship is the management of another adult’s financial affairs due to incapacity. 

This gives one individual authority over aspects of another person’s finances. 

Conservatorship is granted when the other person becomes incapacitated

These orders are only for mental incapacity

But not for physical incapacity. 

Incapacitation will have to get determined by a doctor

The judge will not grant conservatorship until they get the recommendation from the doctor

And the conservatorship is granted via a court order. 

Related: Power Of Attorney vs Conservatorship

Conservatorship Definition

A conservatorship is a court order appointing a person to manage an incapacitated perons’s affairs. 

What Is Guardianship

Guardianship is a person who is taking care of another who is not able to take care of themselves. 

Similar to conservatorship, guardianship gets appointed via a court order. 

Meaning that the judge will appoint the guardian and issue the court order. 

Guardship is the responsibility for the care and finances of the person they care for.

Guardians who need to manage finances for the principal get a conservatorship

Without a conservatorship, the guardian cannot manage the finances

Related: Power Of Attorney vs Guardianship

Guardianship Definition

Guardianship is when a person has the legal authority to take care of an incapacitated person. 

Guardianship vs Conservatorship

Let’s talk about how guardianship vs conservatorship works. 

How Does a Conservatorship Work?

A conservatorship gets established after you petition the court for an appointment of a conservator. 

The petition needs to include proof from a doctor of the incapacitation. 

The courts will appoint an investigator to verify the conservatee is incapacitated. 

The judge will determine if a conservatorship is needed based on the evidence. 

And they will determine if there is any special power of attorneys needed. 

conservatorship is responsible for the finances of the person they are taking care of. 

A conservatorship means that you make sure that the conservatee’s:

  • bills are paid
  • taxes get filed
  • investments are managed properly

A conservator has a fiduciary responsibility to act in the conservatee’s best interest.

A conservator has to keep detailed records of all decisions being made. 

And they have to present those decisions to the court. 

Related: How To Get A Will

How Does a Guardianship Work?

Let’s say you’re appointed guardship of children in a will. 

To get guardianship, you need to file a Petition for Guardianship with the probate court. 

Unless the will is contested, you will get guardianship of those children. 

But, let’s talk about getting guardianship for other people. 

This could be children or incapacitated adults, like aging family members. 

A guardianship gets established by petitioning the court for an appointment of a guardianship. 

The petition needs to include proof from a doctor of the incapacitation. 

The courts will appoint an investigator to verify the person needs a guardian. 

The judge will determine if guardianship is needed based on the evidence. 

After this, they will issue a court order giving you legal authority. 

Related: What An Executor Cannot Do

Types of Conservatorship

These types of conservatorships can apply to children and adults. 

Most commonly, they are used when parents divorce and make financial decisions for children. 

But they can be used for aging family members. 

There are four types of conservatorship:

  • limited conservatorship
  • joint managing conservatorship
  • sole managing conservatorship
  • possessory conservatorship

Limited Conservatorship

A limited conservatorship limits the financial decisions that a conservator can make. 

But they still are managing a limited portion of the conservatee’s affairs. 

For example, the conservatee may still decide where they live. 

But the limited conservatorship manages everything else. 

Related: Penalty For Stealing From An Estate

Joint Managing Conservators

Joint managing conservators is normally:

  • two children managing finances of an incapacitated parent
  • divorced parents managing finances of a child 

These financial decisions for children include:

  • medical treatments
  • medicines
  • doctors they go to
  • investments the parents created for the child
  • education 

Joint managing conservators have to be able to work out their difference of opinion. 

And they have to make decisions that are in the best interest of the conservatee – not themselves. 

If they cannot, the judge will make one person the sole managing conservator. 

Related: How Can a Mother Lose Custody of Her Child

Sole Managing Conservators

A sole managing conservator is the only person who can make financial decisions about a conservatee. 

When an adult is a conservatee, having a sole managing conservator is most common. 

When a child is a conservatee, having a sole managing conservator is not as common. 

Judges will appoint a parent as the sole managing conservator if it’s in the best interest of the child. 

Usually, this is one of the parents who are unfit or are being malicious parents

Related: Grounds for Full Custody of Child

Possessory Conservatorship

A possessory conservatorship gets granted to the parent who is not the sole managing conservator. 

A possessory conservatorship gives the non-custodial parent the right to visitation

Possessory conservatorship usually is not granted for incapacitated adults. 

Types of Guardianship

There are two types of guardianship:

  • legal guardianship
  • temporary guardianship

Legal Guardianship

Legal guardianship is when someone has a court order to care for another person. 

For children, legal guardianship can be:

  • the parents passed away and named a guardian of their child in their will
  • the parents passed away and someone gets a court ordered guardianship
  • the parents are unfit and someone gets a court-ordered guardianship

For an adult, legal guardianship is someone taking care of another person who is incapacitated. 

Legal guardianship is usually permanent. 

Lasting until the child becomes an adult. 

Or until the adult passes away. 

Temporary Guardianship

A temporary guardianship is a court order to care for another person temporarily. 

Temporary guardianship is the same as legal guardianship. 

The only difference is the timeline. 

Legal guardianship is permanent while temporary guardianship is temporary. 

Temoparary guardianship is not normally used for adults. 

But it is normally used for children. 

Temporarily guardianship authorizes others to care for children when parents are unable to. 

Some examples of when parents need this are when:

  • a parent will be in the hospital for a few weeks
  • a parent will be out of the country for work for a few weeks
  • a parent is going to jail for a period of time
  • a parent is going to take care of a grandparent for a few months

For temporary guardianship, your papers need to outline when guardianship is over. 

The Cost Of Conservatorship vs Guardianship

So, how much is the cost of conservatorship vs guardianship? 

They are roughly the same costs. 

You have to account for:

  • filing fees – $250
  • attorney fees – $350 – $1,050
  • service fees – $100

A conservatorship cost is about $1,100.

The cost of guardianship is about $1,100 also. 

But if you are getting both at once, they are cheaper. 

Or, they should be. 

Getting Conservatorship or Guardianship

If you want a reliable, attorney-created conservatorship or guardianship, fill out the form below.

Our experienced attorneys will create your paperwork, which means:

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Fill out the form below and we will reach out and get the ball rolling.

Talk soon.

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