Guardianship vs conservatorship: What’s the difference? 

On Behalf of | May 17, 2023 | Guardianships And Conservatorships |

Making decisions on how to best care for your aging parents can be really difficult. Not only is it tough emotionally to have to think about your parents no longer being able to take care of themselves, it can also be really confusing to know just exactly what is the right thing to do for them. 

Guardianship and Conservatorship are two terms you may have heard of if you’ve been weighing up your options. While they’re terms you may think are interchangeable, they do in fact have different purposes. Below is a bit more information about what each one is. 

A conservator is appointed by the court to assist with finances

This is usually at the request of family members who have expressed concerns that their parent, or loved one, is no longer in a position to manage their own finances. The conservator can be a family member or close friend and they are given the legal authority to make financial decisions for the conservatee. 

A guardianship is more far-reaching

This gives the guardian control over day-to-day decisions for a person who is deemed to no longer have the capacity to make those decisions for themselves. There are two types of guardianship: guardian of person and guardian of property. This can be the same person or a separate guardian can be allocated for each type of guardianship. 

Putting guardianship in place is often a more onerous and time-consuming process because it requires the court to determine a person no longer has mental capacity. The guardian of the person will be afforded legal powers to make medical and even end-of-life decisions. The guardian of property can make all important financial decisions. It’s a role that comes, therefore, with significant responsibility.  

If you’re considering guardianship or conservatorship for your loved one, it’s important to understand what the options are before you make any decisions. Finding out more about what each one entails is a good place to start.