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What is Guardianship?

In my line of practice, I frequently get asked questions about guardianship and how it works. I thought I’d take the time today to preemptively answer a few of these questions in case you are in need of this information.


What is guardianship?

Guardianship is a legal process that assists and protects individuals (i.e., wards) who can’t take care of themselves due to incapacity, disability, or infancy. A court appoints a legal guardian for the individual, and this guardian has the authority to make decisions on behalf of them and represent them. 


Is guardianship the same as conservatorship?

This answer depends on the state the individual lives in. In some states, conservatorship and guardianship are different, with conservatorship being over assets such as land, money, and bank accounts, and guardianship being over only the person.

In other states, the role of guardian and conservator is the same, overseeing both the person and their assets. 


Are there different types of guardianship?

Yes. Full guardianship is what most people think of, where the guardian has total authority over the person. There is also limited guardianship, in which the guardian may have the authority to make decisions in only select areas.

Finally, there is joint guardianship. This is when there is more than one guardian appointed by a court. 


Can guardianship be revoked? 

Guardianship typically ends when the individual passes away, but a court can terminate the guardianship in order to restore a person’s rights. This is done in cases where the individual no longer needs the guardian or needs a less restrictive way of life.

The individual (or anyone concerned about their rights) can also petition for the termination or modification of the guardianship. 

I hope this overview helped. Should you have any other questions regarding guardianship, please feel free to reach out. I will always be happy to assist however I can.