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What is a Guardian or Conservator?

Guardianship

A guardianship is established when a person is no longer able to care for himself/herself or his/her estate.

A guardianship is established by filing a petition in the Probate Court in the county where the person lives.

The Probate Court Judge, based upon the evidence, will determine if the person is capable of handling his/her person or estate or neither.

If the Judge determines that the person is unable to handle himself/herself or his/her estate or neither, then the Judge will determine the person to be incompetent and appoint a guardian for that person or that person’s estate or both.

There can be a guardian of the person and a different guardian of the estate, or one person can serve as both.

Often a bank trust department will be appointed as guardian of the estate, and a relative or friend will be appointed as guardian of the person.

The guardian is responsible for reporting to the Probate Court Judge on his/her/its activities and is required to get the Judge’s approval on these activities each year.

A minor is considered an incompetent person, and a parent, grandparent, family member or friend can be named as the guardian of a minor and/or of a minor’s estate. A bank can be appointed as the guardian of a minor’s estate.

Conservatorship

A conservatorship is similar to a guardianship except the conservator only serves over the ward’s estate and is appointed to help the ward conserve his/her estate.

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