If a loved one becomes incapacitated, can no longer make financial decisions, or is vulnerable to undue influence or elder abuse, a conservatorship proceeding is often the best option. We can help you establish (or oppose) a conservatorship to preserve your family's well-being.  A conservatorship is a court proceeding designed to protect elders and dependent adults when they can no longer make financial decisions.  Conservatorships can also be used to protect a minor's finances if they receive benefits following a parent's death or a large settlement.  In a typical case, a family member or close friend acts as the conservator for the elder, dependent adult or minor and is granted authority by the court to make financial decisions for the conservatee. A conservatorship may not be necessary if the person needing care has a comprehensive estate plan that includes a trust, an advance health care directive, and a power of attorney for financial affairs. However, even if these documents are in place, a conservatorship is sometimes necessary when the person needing care will not cooperate with the trustee or agent, when there is concern that the documents might be revoked or amended, or there is a threat of undue influence or fraud.


Guardianship is a legal proceeding that is used to appoint a guardian to exercise the legal rights of a person who has been deemed incapacitated or for a minor child in need of a guardian. Questions of guardianship typically arise when an individual is no longer able to care for him or herself, but has not designated who should care for them under such circumstances. The individual who may be appointed by the court to take care of them, make decisions for them, and protect their best interests is a guardian. A guardian is typically an individual, such as a family member or close friend. A guardian may be appointed to exercise some (limited) or all (plenary) of an individual's rights. The guardianship may be of the person, property or both. 

The need for a guardian and a guardianship determination may arise in many different circumstances. Individuals with disabilities may require a guardian once they reach 18 years of age to handle their affairs if they have been determined to be incapacitated. Similarly, elderly individuals suffering from dementia or other like disease may become incapacitated and require a guardian. Additionally, guardianship for minors may also be needed in special circumstances. A child may require a guardian if his or her parents die suddenly or if the parents are unable to properly care for the child.

Let us know how our attorneys & estate planners can help achieve your goals!