Conservatorships and Guardianships

Protecting Your Loved Ones

Conservatorships and guardianships can be confusing. The terms aren’t as common in day-to-day conversation, but they are important for the children of elderly adults and families with disabled loved ones to understand. In the event your loved one, be they elderly or someone younger and unable to make financial and medical decisions for themselves, becomes incapacitated the court may have to appoint them a conservator or guardian.

What is a Conservatorship?

A conservator is appointed by the court to manage the financial affairs of an individual who is unable to take the actions necessary to manage their income, property and other assets appropriately. Conservatorships often arise when an individual has not created a power of attorney while they had the mental capacity to do so or when a person attains the age of 18 and cannot manage their own financial affairs usually because of a lifelong disability. In the right situations, Conservatorships are the lifeline a family needs to ensure the financial wellbeing of their loved one. Conservators are required to report their actions to the court on a yearly basis.

What is a Guardianship?

Oregon courts will appoint a person to serve as someone’s guardian when it is determined they do not have the mental capacity to take care of themselves. This means that the individual is unable to make appropriate decisions to protect their own health and safety. Guardians may be appointed for adults or children and they are called the “protected person.” The guardian manages the physical and health needs of the protected person. A guardian’s duties may vary depending on the protected person’s needs, but the court will outline what decision-making authority the guardian has. Guardians are required to report their actions on a yearly basis to the court.

What is the Difference Between a Conservator and a Guardian?

While the terms may be used interchangeably, conservatorships and guardianships represent different legal avenues for caring for a person unable to do so for themselves. Essentially, a guardian takes care of a protected person’s well-being — the health care they receive and where they should live. Conservators manage a protected person’s finances. Sometimes these are the same person and other times they are different people.

How Do I Become a Conservator or Guardian?

In order to be a conservator for someone who can no longer manage their finances, you submit a petition to the court. This includes the reason for a conservatorship and must include facts that support your claim. If needed, the court will hold a hearing to determine if the proposed conservator and the conservatorship itself is necessary and appropriate.

Similarly, to become a guardian, the process begins with a petition to the court. The petition for a guardianship must include why the individual in question needs a legally appointed person to make their health and wellbeing decisions with support for the claim. Just like for a conservatorship petition, a court may hold a hearing regarding a guardianship petition as well.

Central Oregon Conservatorships and Guardianships Attorney

Collin Edmonds is a Central Oregon conservatorships and guardianships attorney with the accessibility and experience to guide you through the petition and hearing process. Collin understands the sensitive nature of these claims and works with you to ensure your loved one is taken care of both personally and financially. Contact Collin today to schedule a consultation and learn how he can help you help your elderly or incapacitated loved one with a conservatorship or guardianship.

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