When a person is unable to make decisions for themselves petitioning for guardianship is often necessary. Guardianship is generally divided into two categories: over a person, and over property which is sometimes called a conservatorship.
For example, when a child has Down Syndrome and turns 18, the child’s parents are no longer able to make legal or healthcare decisions for their child, unless they become their child’s guardians. A conservatorship is not always required in these kinds of cases as often the child’s only asset is Supplemental Security Income and a parent is the representative payee.
With an elderly relative, it may be necessary to petition a court for both guardianship and conservatorship, so that, for example, assets may be sold in order to pay for the relative’s care.
Being a conservator carries with it large responsibilities, starting with filing an inventory of assets with the Commissioner of Accounts. A conservator is responsible for managing the assets: paying bills, selling a home, filing and paying taxes and filing an annual accounting with the Commissioner of Accounts.
Setting up a guardianship and assigning a responsible guardian is a serious step. Make an appointment with our office to discuss whether guardianship is an appropriate solution for your family's situation.