Have you thought about pursuing guardianship or conservatorship over an adult family member who you believe can no longer handle their affairs? A guardianship is a legal relationship created by a court between a guardian and her ward, usually an incapacitated adult. The guardian has a legal right and duty to care for the ward. A conservatorship is a like a guardianship but refers only to property.
After you are appointed by the Court, you have a lot of responsibilities to properly carry out your duties. Here are some of the ongoing responsibilities of a guardian and conservator:
- Filing a report with the Court at 60 days and annually outlining your plans for the ward, their care, and their property,
- Filing a yearly report with the Court outlining the ward’s living situation, medical condition, how often you’ve visited them, what services they are receiving and related issues.
- Caring for the ward – making health care decisions, living decisions and decisions about how to manage their property for their benefit,
- Involving the ward as much as possible taking into account their condition and circumstances,
- Filing Roger’s Monitor reports annually, if you are also appointed in that capacity,
- In the case of a Conservatorship, fileing annual accountings showing what has occured over the last year with the property you are managing,
- Responding to any requests from the Court for more frequent recording.
A guardian or conservator is always subject to the oversight of the Court and can be penalized for failing to properly account for funds and monitor their ward.
(The term “ward” is used here for convenience. The legal term for someone under a guardianship is “incapacitated person” and for someone under a conservatorship is “protected person.”)
Estate Planning, Probate and Trusts involve complex areas of law. Individual circumstances must be considered before any advice can be given. The general information above is not to be construed as legal advice, which can only be given after consideration of the unique facts of each matter. Please seek the advice or counsel of your attorney, financial advisor or CPA as it may be appropriate.