What are Conservatorship and Guardianship?
When an individual is no longer able to manage his or her financial affairs or personal needs the court can assign, through a formal legal proceeding, either a guardian or conservator or both to take over and make these decisions for the individual. This legal proceeding results in removing the individual’s rights to make decisions regarding his or her affairs, typically due to the individual’s inability to do so safely and effectively.
In Colorado the court appoints a guardian to make health and welfare decisions for the individual while a conservator is appointed to manage the protected person’s finances and assets. Keeping these separate allows for an individual to remain in control of health and welfare decisions if capable, while only taking away the financial decision making; the reverse could also be possible, depending on the ability of the individual. Depending on the circumstances, if both a guardian and conservator are required, the court could appoint two different people, one as conservator and one as guardian, who must work together to making decisions that are in the best interest of the incapacitated person.
The purpose of conservatorship and guardianship is twofold. First, the conservator seeks to prevent inappropriate use of the protected person’s assets. Second, the guardian is able to manage the affairs of the protected person, including, obtaining or providing for the support, care, education or welfare of the protected person or someone entitled to support by the protected person.
Who Will Be My Guardian or Conservator?
When appointing a guardian or conservator, the court takes several factors into consideration, including a person or agent named within the protected person’s durable power of attorney. Ensuring that someone appointed as your conservator will act in your best interest is crucial. You don’t want someone taking over for you who will spend your hard earned money frivolously. Having the correct powers of attorney in place as part of a comprehensive estate plan can give you peace the of mind of knowing a person you trust will take care of you. Call us today and we can help ensure you have all the right documents in place.