It is important to know under which conditions guardianship and/or conservatorship responsibilities will apply and what the procedure is in order for the rulings to be made. Guardianship can apply to anyone who is considered by the courts to be disabled in a way that makes them unable to take responsible actions or to those who are minors and therefore need the assistance guardianship and conservatorship will offer.
Some states combine the duties within the designation of guardian, but traditionally a conservator handles financial decisions in behalf of the ward and the guardian takes care or personal decisions.
A guardianship ruling can apply to a person who is mentally incompetent for one reason or another, or suicidal or psychotic in a way that makes it clear that he or she is unable to make decisions relating to legal, medical or financial matters.
In all cases where guardianship is being considered for an adult individual, there will need to be a report submitted to the deciding court from medical professionals who are fully accredited.
The request for guardianship will normally be granted should these reports indicate that the individual is suffering from incapacity due to severe mental illness or age related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
It should be understood that guardianship does not always have to be total. Partial guardianship can apply to an individual who has a conservator appointed for their financial affairs while the individual retains control of his or her personal affairs.
In the case of both conservatorship and guardianship, those responsible have duties defined by each state. It is very important that as a guardian or conservator you clearly understand what your legal duties are regarding reporting to the courts and the frequency at which these reports will be required. Make sure you have a good estate planning lawyer to counsel you in advance of taking up your duties!