Guardianship is the judicial process whereby someone is appointed to make decisions over your person. This often includes medical decisions, residential placement decisions, habilitative decisions, and the like.
Conservatorship is the judicial process whereby someone is appointed to make decisions over your estate. Your estate includes all of your assets and property including bank accounts, stock accounts, real property (your home, or other interests in real estate), cars, and other personal property.
A person may petition the court for either guardianship or conservatorship, or both. Guardianship and/or conservatorship should be sought when a person is, or becomes, incapacitated and who has no other documentation in place providing for this contingency. See Powers of Attorney [hyperlink] The most common circumstances where guardianship and/or conservatorship are sought include: when an adult becomes incapacitated by reason of traumatic brain injury; suffers from Alzheimer’s, dementia, or schizophrenia; or when a child with a cognitive impairment reaches the age of majority.
Guardianship and conservatorship are typically not necessary if a person has drafted estate documents in advance of their becoming incapacitated. A medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney, and Living Will are typical estate planning documents a person may draft prior to becoming incapacitated to help them avoid the costs of a judicial proceeding. You must have capacity to draft and sign estate planning documents. If a person has not drafted estate planning documents in advance, or if a person has never had capacity (such as in the case of a child with a disability who reaches the age of majority), guardianship and conservatorship are the only means to obtain authority to make decisions on their behalf.
Guardianship and conservatorship laws are state specific. Guardianship and conservatorship law falls under the Utah Uniform Probate Code. Therefore, if you are seeking guardianship and/or conservatorship in the state of Utah you should consult with a Utah guardianship and/or conservatorship attorney. Attorneys competent in guardianship and conservatorship law often advertise as probate, Elder Law, or Elder Care attorneys. Attorneys who practice estate planning may also be able to help you in petitioning for guardianship and/or conservatorship. Iuvo Law is happy, ready, and able to assist you in all of your guardianship and/or conservatorship needs.
Iuvo Law has represented petitioners and respondents in Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Morgan, and Summit counties; with clients from Ogden, Clinton, Roy, Farmington, Layton, Centerville, Bountiful, Kaysville, North Salt Lake, Woods Cross, West Bountiful, Salt Lake City, Holladay, West Jordan, South Jordan, West Valley, Sandy, Taylorsville, and Park City. Contact us now to set up a time for a free consultation.
Utah Offfice of Public Guardian
National Guardianship Association, Inc.