A guardian is a person or institution appointed by a court to make decisions about the care of another, who is called a “ward.” A guardian has the responsibility of a parent for a minor, except that the guardian does not have to use his or her own money for the ward’s care and is not liable for the actions of the ward.
Guardianships can be created for minor children or for incapacitated or incompetent adults. Some examples of when a guardianship may be appropriate are:
Death of parents;
Parents are incapable of making reasonable decisions necessary to care for their minor children, including upon the termination of a parent’s rights; OR
Adults severely impaired by physical or mental illnesses, old age, and drug or alcohol use, making them incapable of making rational decisions.
After a guardian is appointed, termination of the guardianship occurs upon the death of the guardian, or upon the death, marriage, adoption, or reaching majority of the ward. Guardians may also petition the court for permission to resign, or the court may remove the guardian.
A conservator is a person appointed by the court to manage the property and financial affairs of a ward. Sometimes the same person is appointed to be both a guardian and conservator. A conservator is the trustee of the ward’s estate. The ward’s estate includes all of his or her property and income. A conservator must use reasonable care, skill and caution to manage and invest the estate as a prudent investor would. If a conservator is not appointed, this responsibility resides with the guardian.
A conservator may be appointed when the court determines that:
A person cannot effectively manage financial affairs because of mental illness, mental deficiency, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication, or other cause; and
The ward’s property will be squandered if not managed properly AND those funds are needed to care for the ward or the ward’s dependents.
Hiring a Guardianship and Conservatorship Attorney gives you the best chance to become a guardian or conservator for someone you care about. Please call Utah Divorce Firm today at (801) 424-5280 and let us effectively represent you through the guardianship or conservatorship process.