Guardianships and conservatorships are the processes by which the court appoints individuals to handle the matters of an incapacitated person.  Both types of actions are handled by the probate court when they involve an incapacitated adult. There are two types of conservatorships. (1) Conservatorship of the Person; and (2) Conservatorship of the Estate.

Conservatorship of the Person
A Conservator of the Person is appointed to make decisions about personal matters for the conservatee, including decisions about food, clothing, and residence.

Conservatorship of the Estate
A Conservator of the Estate is responsible for handling the financial affairs of the conservatee. The conservator has the power to collect the conservatee’s assets, pay bills, make investments, etc. However, the conservator must seek court supervision for major transactions, such as the purchase or sale of real property, borrowing money, and gifting of assets

Guardianship
Unlike conservatorship which is the process in which a court assigns an individual to handle matters for an incapacitated adult, a Probate Guardianship is when the Court appoints an adult who is not the child’s parent to take care of the child and/or the child’s property (estate).

Although both are good vehicles to achieve the ability to care for a loved one or manage his or her property due to his or her lack of ability, both of these court proceedings can be lengthy, expensive and frustrating.  Both can be also avoided using a properly drafted healthcare proxy for the person and property.  This document is executed before a person becomes incapacitated and essentially cuts out the need for a guardianship and/or conservatorship, while ensuring that an individual that you trust fills this role.