Sometimes someone really needs your help. Maybe a child’s only parent is incarcerated. Perhaps an adult suffered a traumatic brain injury or is showing signs of alzheimers as they age. They need someone to make important medical, educational, personal and financial decisions. A temporary guardianship or conservatorship may be available in certain emergencies.
Guardianships and Conservatorships are very similar, except that a guardianship is for a minor and a conservatorship is for an adult.
There are two types of guardianships:
Guardianships of the Person are for minors whose biological parents are not providing for their children’s personal needs for food, medical care, clothing, education, and shelter. Often grandparents are the ones who step in and take responsibility when parents aren’t or can’t. But, it can also be an aunt, uncle, cousin, sister, brother, or even a family friend. A Guardianship of the Person gives the guardian the legal authority to make decisions for the child.
Guardianships of the Estate are sometimes necessary for a child who receives cash or property worth more than $5,000.00, such as from a personal injury settlement or inheritance. Children must generally go through a Court proceeding to receive this amount of property, and go through additional Court proceedings to spend it. Returning to Court becomes burdensome and expensive. A Guardianship of the Estate allows the Guardian to spend money on the child’s basic living expenses without going back to Court, although Court permission is still required for many types of expenditures. The Guardian of the Estate must also provide the Court with a formal “accounting” of how funds have been spent every two years.
Because the individual circumstances giving rise to these situations vary so greatly, give us a call so we can figure out if you even need a Guardianship.
Like Guardianships, there are two types of Conservatorships:
Conservatorships of the Person involve adults who can’t reliably make good decisions on their own. This is often because of dementia or Alzheimer’s, but we also handle cases involving developmentally delayed adults or victims of traumatic brain injury. The Court appoints someone as “Conservator” to make medical and personal decisions for the incapacitated individual and help provide for their personal needs.
Conservatorships of the Estate arise when an adult is no longer able to reliably manage their assets and finances, or pay their regular expenses. A Conservatorship of the Estate often accompanies a Conservatorship of the Person, but not always. Sometimes an adult has trouble with money, but not with personal decisions. Although the Court oversees the Conservator’s fiscal management decisions, the Conservator can make some basic expenditures without Court approval. A Conservator must also provide the Court with a detailed formal “accounting” of how funds have been spent every two years.