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Guardianships & Conservatorships
A conservator is a person appointed by the court with the authority and duty to manage the financial affairs of a person needing protection, such as a minor (under 18 years) or an adult incapacitated person if a judge determines that the individual lacks the capacity to manage his or her financial resources. The conservator can be an individual (family member or trusted friend), bank, trust company, or professional fiduciary. The conservator is empowered to take possession of the protected person's assets and income, and provides for payment of the protected person's expenses.
The conservator becomes the sole financial decision-maker for the protected person. The protected person loses all control of his or her property and assets, except for a few limited powers in certain situations.
A guardian is a person named by the court who has the authority and duty to make personal and health care decisions for a minor (under 18 years) or an adult incapacitated person. A guardian may determine where the protected person will reside and what medical care he or she will receive. The court may appoint a guardian either with unlimited authority, or only for specific actions.
A guardian generally does not make financial decisions. The court may appoint a conservator to manage the finances of the protected person, and on some cases the Guardian and Conservator are the same person.