Guardianship & Conservatorship

Often, people do not plan for illness or disability or have not created effective, legal powers of attorney. If so, or if a family member or someone you love is unable to care for themselves, whether a child or an adult, or may be a danger to themselves, it is possible to go to court and have someone appointed as that person’s Guardian. Sometimes a person may not be able to manage their financial affairs responsibly. If so, it is possible to go to court and have someone appointed conservator. Because either a guardianship or conservatorship takes away an individual’s civil rights, this can be a challenging process, and the court will be careful to craft any order appointing a Guardian or conservator to minimize the rights that are taken away and maximize the disabled person’s autonomy.

If you are wondering whether a family member or loved one may need a guardian or conservator,

Contact Front Range Estate Planning today
at 720‑772‑7565 or

Some facts:

  • Guardianships and conservatorships can generally be avoided through an effective estate plan that includes a Medical Durable Power of Attorney and a General Durable Power of Attorney.
  • Any guardianship or conservatorship established will seek to maximize the disabled, or protected, person’s independence and involvement.
  • A guardian is responsible to look after the protected person’s well-being and personal care.
  • A conservator is responsible for the protected person’s financial affairs.
  • Anybody appointed as guardian or conservator of a protected person has a fiduciary duty to the protected person. This means that the guardian or conservator must always act in the best interest of that person.
  • The court will appoint a person to visit the protected person before making a decision on whether to appoint a guardian or conservator.
  • A guardian or conservator must give regular reports to the court about their activities.
  • Guardians and conservators are entitled to reasonable compensation and reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Guardians are not required to provide for the protected person out of the guardian’s own pocket or to provide physical custody for the protected person. Similarly, a guardian is not legally liable for the protected person’s actions. Liability of conservators is similarly limited.

Some traps to avoid:

  • Good record-keeping and accounting is essential for both a guardian and a conservator.
  • Any action that may be seen by the court as taken in the guardian or conservator’s interest can result in the guardian or conservator being held personal liable.
  • An informal (not court appointed) guardian or conservator will be held to the same standard as a court-appointed guardian or conservator. Additional liabilities may result.
  • No conservator or guardian should agree to be personally liable for the protected person’s food, shelter, or other obligations.

To find out what your options are,

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    A word about the photos: The photos on this site capture some of the beauty of the front range, where I’ve lived my entire life. I have a deep love for the people, places, animals, plants, and activities in this part of the world. My hope is that these images embody something of the spirit and feeling of this special place.