Both guardians and conservators are individuals formally appointed by the court after a determination that an individual does not have the capacity to care for or make financial decisions on their own. However, guardians and conservators perform different roles.

Guardians are individuals who are appointed by the court to protect the general welfare of an individual who is no longer able to make decisions for their own health and welfare.  The guardian is responsible for decisions about medical treatment and living arrangements for the protected person.  A conservator is appointed by the court to manage and make decisions regarding an incapacitated individual’s financial assets to ensure that resources are available and preserved for the benefit of the protected person.

Petitioning the court to be appointed or to nominate another individual to be appointed as a guardian or conservator can be appropriate for special needs children who have reached 18 years of age, or for adults with diminished or diminishing capacity.   At Procter and Callahan, LLC, we view guardianship and conservatorship proceedings as options of last resort.   We review all other options prior to initiating a court proceeding.  We engage in proactive planning to prevent the necessity of court involvement by drafting comprehensive estate plans including durable powers of attorney and advance medical directives for clients with capacity.   Sometimes a guardianship and/or conservatorship is unavoidable if these documents are not in place, and the protected person does not have the capacity to execute them.  Guardianship and/or Conservatorship may also be appropriate in situations of family conflict or when an individual revokes their powers of attorney. Guardianship, and possibly Conservatorship, is frequently appropriate for special needs children when they become adults.

When a guardianship or conservatorship petition is the best option for a family, Procter and Callahan, LLC strives to educate clients and make the court process as smooth and transparent as possible.   We are sensitive to the anxiety that often accompanies court appearances.  We are also aware of the potential family dynamics and stressors that can come into play when any individual steps into the role of a guardian or a conservator.  We work with our clients to minimize the emotional toll and to simplify the process as much as possible.  Guardianships and/or conservatorships can be contested or uncontested and the attorneys at Procter and Callahan, LLC can assist you in both circumstances.

Every individual situation is unique and the attorneys at Procter and Callahan, LLC will provide advice and recommendations specific to your situation and family.  Although the court process has uniform requirements, the experience of each family is unique depending on individual circumstances.  We cannot provide individualized advice or fee estimates until we have had the opportunity to understand your specific facts and goals, but will do so before any proceeding is initiated with the court.