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Guardianship & Conservatorship

Who needs a guardian or conservator? What’s the difference between a guardian and a conservator? How do I appoint someone to protect my loved one(s)? I’ve been appointed as a guardian/conservator, can you help? These are just some of the questions the team at Praesidium Law can answer for you on the subject of guardianship and conservatorship.

Dealing with a guardianship and/or conservatorship matter can be a difficult and emotional process for a family, and yes, we are here to help.

Appointment of a Guardian and/or Conservator

Appointing a guardian and/or conservator for someone is an intense process in Arizona. While not always the case, a guardian or conservator is most often needed to protect elderly parents, or children who are disabled. To better understand the process, let’s clarify what the terms mean.

What’s the Difference Between a Guardian and Conservator?

A guardian looks out for the well-being of an individual who lacks sufficient understanding to make responsible decisions concerning themselves. The court refers to the incapacitated person as a ward. A guardian should always do what is in the best interest of the ward and must take the ward’s wishes into consideration when making those decisions (so long as it does not endanger the ward). Generally, a guardian does not manage the ward’s money, but can if the ward’s total assets are less than $10,000.00.

On the other hand, a conservator manages a ward’s money and property, if he or she is unable to manage his or her affairs themselves and is in need of protection. The court refers to the ward in this instance as a “protected person.” A conservator must be very conscious and careful as to how the protected person’s money is spent. In a conservatorship matter, the conservator has to provide the court with an accounting every year to show how monies were used.

Because the appointment of a guardian or conservator is taking away a person’s individual right’s, the court needs strong evidence that an appointment is necessary. Please keep in mind that many different parties can contest the appointment of a guardian or conservator, including the ward or protected person.

Guardianship and Conservatorship Administrations

Once a guardian or conservator is appointed, there is much more work to be done.

Guardians are required to be there for their ward. They must arrange for any necessary medical treatment and oversee the overall well-being of the ward. The guardian is also responsible for filing the annual guardianship report.

Conservators, on the other hand, have much more work than a guardian. A conservator must prepare a budget, an inventory, the first accounting and annual accountings thereafter. Also, the conservator will usually have to restrict the protected person’s bank accounts and real estate. Because the conservator is responsible for the protected person’s finances, the conservator has an ongoing duty to keep track of all monies spent from the protected person’s estate.  It can be overwhelming.

Should you have any questions about your obligations and duties regarding your appointment as a guardian or conservator, use the form below to request a free consultation or through our contact page.

Request a Free Consultation with Praesidium Law

To request a free consultation regarding guardianship and/or conservatorship, please complete the form.

Please do not send any specific confidential information without speaking with a member of the Praesidium Law team first (see Disclaimer below).


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