What is a Guardianship or Conservatorship?


A guardianship is established by the court when a person is no longer able to care for himself or his 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, determines if the person is capable of handling his person or estate or neither.

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

The court may appoint 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 must report to the Probate Court Judge yearly and is required to get the Judge’s approval 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.


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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