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Elderly conservatorship and guardianship whats the difference

Conservatorship for aged parents

Guardianship and conservatorship are extremely sensitive topics. Making the decision to decide for an elderly comes with a mountain of duties and liabilities. Our parents and loved ones always give us their best. So, when they reach their senility, they deserve all our love and compassion.

Old age is certainly not easy. It enfeebles the bones and slows down an elderly person’s mental capacity. Sometimes, debilitating diseases find their way into those weak bones. Alzheimer’s Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, and Dementia are some crippling ailmentsthat old age bombards them with.

In circumstances where your loved one is slowly losing their sanity or refuses to comply with medical treatments, what should you do? If their life is threatened, what can you possibly do to keep the treatment going? Sometimes, it’s not even an illness, it could be a sudden accident, an acute injury that drives you to the edge.

Youmay’ve chanced upon a few cases where legal guardianship or conservatorship effectively solved the matter. The person in concern who needs to be looked after is known as the “ward”.However, making decisions for elderly parents or a loved one while you’re not well-versed with the two legal processes can be incredibly risky.

What are the key differences between the two and what are the appropriate circumstances to evoke either of them? Read on to find all the answers to your concerns.

A Briefing on Guardianship

Simply put, a guardian provides welfare for an elderly who is unable to fend for themself. If the ward is visibly incapacitated or is clearly unable to care and self-supervise, then a guardian is appointed by the court.

In many countries, the process entails some key legal steps where financial guardianship is transferred to a responsible member. If your aged parents, grand-parents or loved onesare witnessing diminished capacities, then you have to take the reins on their behalf.

What Are the Duties of a Guardian for the Elderly?

Depending on the legal contract or will, a court-appointed guardian ideally has the authority to make medical and financial decisions for the ward. Ensuring their well-being, health, maintenance, and best interests is part of the legal contract. The guardian will also have to submit updates to the court on the progress and current conditions of the ward.

When Is Guardianship Deemed Necessary?

The courts require medical evidence to appoint a guardian. Disability, mental incapacitations, and other physical restrictions can make an elderly eligible for guardianship. The court’s first choice will be a spouse, or an immediate family member.

The Two-Step Process

There are exactly two legal steps that initiate guardianship. First the court will declare that the person in question is physically challenged or incompetent due to a possible injury, ailment, or cognitive impairment.  Next, it will appoint the guardian who will look after the entire welfare of the ward. You can also visit you conservatorship attorney to know more in detail.

Conservatorship in a Nutshell


Guardianship for old people


While guardianship combines all legal powers into one, Conservatorship specifically deals with the financial affairs of an elderly person. Most countries differentiate between the two, simply because financial assets have a greater liability. Up till now, only 16 states of the US have pledged allegiance to the Uniform Probate Code.

Conservatorship covers the assets and valuables the ward possesses and has control over. Although it can overlap with guardianship, the main duty of a conservatorship is to oversee the cash flow, expenditures, estate planning, and investments.

If your elderly father or grandparent is retiring, and requires someone to look after the finances, then financial conservatorship could be a viable option. You will have to look after their income, all previous investments, manage their bills, and create a holistic budget for them.

When Is a Conservator Appointed?

As is in the case of a guardian, a conservator is assigned by the court in conditions of old age, diminishing mental capacities, or physical limitations that hamper daily life. Any of these circumstances can make a loved one eligible to be put under conservatorship.

There may be a case when your parents don’t want you to take care of themselves completely and simply handle the main financial issues. This option is also more suitable in cases where the senior wishes to be specific about what affairs they’re delegating to you.

Can the Court Assign Both a Conservator and a Guardian at the Same Time?

Yes, it’s possible that the court will appoint a guardian and a conservator at the same time; however, in most case, it is usually different people. Both the conservator and the guardian should work in harmony and wish the best interest of the senior in concern. You may think a durable power of attorney may be a good option, but if it doesn’t cater to all the needs of the senior, then you will be needing a guardian.

Hiring a Conservatorship Attorney in San Diego

If you deem that hiring a guardianship attorney is in your loved one’s best interest and that you are capable of handling their life’s decisions, then initiate the process. Legal conservatorship or guardianship for adults with disabilities is extremely important to protect them from any financial and personal loss.

Find the best attorneys for guardianship and conservatorship for your loved ones with Kam Law Firm.

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