GUARDIANSHIP & CONSERVATORSHIP

You may find yourself in a position where it is necessary to have a Guardian or Conservator appointed for a loved one who does not have the capacity to make or communicate health care and/or financial decisions on their own.  We, at Eckert Byrne, have the skill and compassion to assist you with obtaining a court appointment as Guardian or Conservator.  We will assist with petitioning the Probate & Family Court, whether it is for an aging adult who no longer has the capacity to make informed decisions, an incapacitated minor turning eighteen years of age, or a minor who may require a court appointed fiduciary to access inherited funds.­­­

What is a Guardian?

A Guardian is someone appointed by the court to make health decisions for an individual who does not have the capacity to make informed decisions regarding their own health, safety and medical needs.  A petitioner can request either a General Guardianship or a Limited Guardianship for the incapacitated individual.  The Probate & Family Court gives preference to Limited Guardianships allowing the incapacitated person to retain some powers whenever possible.  Under a Limited Guardianship the individual may be given power to make some decisions regarding self-care, routine health care, or home and community life.  The Court relies heavily on a Medical Certificate or Clinical Team Report prepared by the individual’s physician to help them determine the powers given to the Guardian.

What is a Conservator?

A Conservator is someone appointed by the court to make financial decisions for an individual who does not have the capacity to make informed decisions regarding money, property, or business affairs.  Again, the Conservatorship can either be general with a broad range of powers, or it can be limited allowing the individual to retain some powers such as retaining a spending allowance, making gifts or donations of their choice, use of credit, or to plan a budget.

Who can be appointed Guardian/Conservator?

For a Guardian, the incapacitated person may petition the Court him/herself or any person interested in the welfare of the individual alleged to be incapacitated may petition the court to be appointed Guardian.  For a Conservator, any individual may petition the court to have a Conservator appointed for him/herself, or any person interested in the welfare of that person, such as a parent, guardian, custodian, or individual who would be otherwise adversely affected by dissipation or mismanagement of assets.

How We Can Help

For most individuals this is an unfamiliar process within a situation they never expected to be in.  We at Eckert Byrne can help you answer questions such as:

  • How long does the Guardianship/Conservator process take from the time I file the Petition?
  • What if there is an immediate need for the appointment of a Guardian or Conservator because an emergency situation exists?
  • Can I obtain an appointment as Temporary Guardian?
  • I am told I need the Court’s authority to administer anti-psychotic medications. How do I obtain this authority?
  • What are my responsibilities once I have been appointed? Will I be required to provide the Court with annual reports?
  • Are there additional costs for reporting and will I, as Guardian, be responsible to pay these?

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