Guardianship involves the court appointment of a person responsible for making health and personal care decisions for a physically or mentally incapacitated individual. This could be needed for a young adult who has a developmental disability and will need life-long care and supervision, a person who has long-standing mental illness, a person who has been in a severe accident and cannot make safe decisions independently or an elder individual who has dementia or another progressively deteriorating illness that renders them unable to care for themselves. The court appointed individual is called a “guardian”; the person for whom a guardian is appointed is referred to as the “ward”. The court strives to give the guardian the scope of decision-making authority necessary to both ensure that the ward’s needs for food, clothing, shelter, safety and medical care are met and that the ward maintains as much independence as possible.
The scope of authority given the guardian is based on information given to the court by a physician who has examined the ward and the testimony of relatives, friends and care-givers of the ward. The court applies the “least restrictive environment standard” to achieve a balance between the need for someone to make health and personal care decisions for the ward, while imposing the least amount of restriction on the ward’s independence as is necessary based on their condition.
Conservatorship involves the court appointing a person to be responsible for handling the financial affairs of a person unable to do so themselves. The person appointed by the Court is the “Conservator”; the person for whom a conservator is appointed is the “Protectee”. The Court closely monitors how funds are spent by the Conservator by requiring that all expenditures are approved by the Court in advance and ensuring that the Protectee’s funds are spent only on their needs.
We know that seeking to have a guardian and conservator appointed is an extremely stressful time for families. We have been assisting families with these issues for over 20 years and with care and compassion, we explain your options and guide you through the court process to help minimize the emotional toll, cost and time involved to help ensure that your loved one receives the care and support they need.