925.244.1185
San Ramon, CA

Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Monday, March 26, 2018

What is the Difference Between Conservatorship & Guardianship in California?

While guardians and conservators have similar roles and duties, they fulfill different functions. For example, both individuals will significantly limit the ability for their “ward” to make decisions regarding various aspects of their life. While it is wise to plan ahead for avoiding conservatorship, when faced with this decision, it is a good idea to speak with a California estate planning lawyer.

What is a Guardian?

A guardian is appointed by the court to care for a minor. A minor is anyone who is under the age of majority, which is 18 years old in the State of California. This person can be anyone who is not the legal parent of a child.

Guardians will typically fulfill the following duties:

  • Care for the day-to-day needs of the child

  • Make financial, educational, and well-being related decisions

  • Manage the child’s assets

  • Provide the child with necessities, including food, shelter, and clothing

A legal guardian essentially steps into the parental role for a child whose parent can no longer care for him or her.

Guardians can be appointed because a parent is no longer fit to care for their child. However, a parent can also name a guardian for their minor child as part of their estate planning documents as well. Although the court must authorize the guardian to “take over,” most courts will not undermine a deceased parent’s witnesses in naming a guardian.

What is a Conservator?

A conservator is someone who is also appointed by the court to take care of another person’s financial, health, and other affairs. The difference, however, is that a conservator will protect an otherwise incapacitated adult, not a minor child. They can also be put in place for minor children who are married or who were married.

A conservatorship may be appropriate if the adult experiences:

  • An accident that undermines their ability to care for themselves

  • A serious mental or physical health condition

  • A severe injury due to a mishap or other circumstance

A conservator can be a friend, family member, or even a professional person. The court will appoint a conservator based on the needs of the adult involved.

Types of Conservatorships

California has two types of conservatorships. Each category addresses different needs. However, one person can also fulfill both roles in many situations.

Conservator of the Person: This type of conservator is charged with managing and addressing the personal affairs of the adult, such as food, clothing, shelter, and physical health.

Conservator of the Estate: This person handles the financial affairs of someone who cannot manage his or her financial resources independently.

A conservatorship can also be general or limited. A limited conservatorship will only allow the conservator to manage certain aspects of either the person or their finances.

Comparatively, a guardian has no such similar distinctions or potential limitations. Guardians are responsible for every facet of their minor ward’s life.

Getting Legal Help with Conservatorships and Guardianships

Whether you are considering whom to name as a guardian for your minor child or you need to set up a conservatorship for a parent or family friend, the skilled conservatorship lawyers at Horizonlaw today can help. Call our team today for more information or to set up an appointment.


Archived Posts

2019
2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2016
2015



© 2019 Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning, Inc. | Disclaimer
2333 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Ste. 145, San Ramon, CA 94583
| Phone: (925) 244-1185

Elder Law | Estate Planning | About

Law Firm Website Design by
Amicus Creative