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Courtney & Mills, LLC  Approaching Every Case with Strength, Education and Respect
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Is A Guardianship Or Conservatorship In The Cards?


The aging process can be cruel.  In addition to the physical ailments suffered by so many, mental incompetence sometimes ravages the elderly, leaving family with the daunting task of deciding on the proper management and care of a disabled loved one.  Sometimes, this care requires a legal process related to obtaining guardianship or conservatorship.  These are both ways that loved ones strive to protect and support someone who is suffering from severe cognitive challenges as a result of aging, an accident, or disease. But what do they entail?  Understanding the difference between the two is important; a local family law attorney can help you to understand critical distinctions in detail.

What is a Conservatorship? 

In a Conservatorship, the court must be convinced that the individual in question is incapable of making sound financial decisions and will name a Conservator expressly to deal with financial matters on behalf of the ward.  Any expenditures deemed necessary by the Conservator must be approved by the court. 

What Does Guardianship Entail? 

The responsibilities of guardianship are extensive and require serious contemplation before an application is made to the Probate Court.  If granted, a guardianship essentially eliminates the ward’s ability to make any choices for themselves. They can no longer consent to medical procedures, get married without your consent, choose who they want to spend time with, make decisions about their own money, vote in a public election, enter into any contracts, or make other basic decisions for themselves. These restrictions are based on a finding that they have lost functionality, are unable to take care of themselves, and are unable to clearly make and express their decisions.  While some individuals may have limited cognitive function and require assistance with some issues, a person who needs a guardian has been deemed incapable of decision-making altogether. You, as guardian, will have the legal obligation to make major and minor personal decisions for your loved one, including where he or she will reside and what kinds of care should be made available, and all other judgments relating to their well-being.

Is Guardianship the Right Move? 

Without question, Conservatorship and guardianship are onerous undertakings.  In addition to thinking carefully about the impacts on yourself, be sure to weigh the impacts on the person you are seeking to assist.  The loss of financial, or, in the case of guardianship, all decision-making, can be a tough pill to swallow for some. Is a less restrictive option available? Would a limited guardianship be more appropriate? How do you know? At Courtney & Mills, LLC, our Springfield guardianship attorneys have the answers you are looking for.  Schedule a confidential consultation in our Springfield office to discuss your situation today.

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