Sometimes a person is unable to make financial or personal decisions for themselves. This may be caused by age, illness, or mental capacity. In these situations, it is sometimes helpful to have another person appointed to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person.
A guardianship allows another person to make decisions regarding the care and well-being of the incapacitated person. A conservatorship allows another person to take control of the incapacitated person’s finances, and use them for the sole benefit of the incapacitated person. Often, both a guardianship and a conservatorship are appropriate.
Because guardianships and conservatorships take away certain rights of the incapacitated person, they are closely monitored by the courts to make sure they are used appropriately. A guardian or conservator can only be appointed after showing the court that:
1) the incapacitated person is truly incapacitated
2) the proposed guardian or conservator is the most appropriate person to serve in that role.
Both guardianships and conservatorship require annual reports to the court to ensure that the incapacitated person continues to be protected.