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What do guardians and conservators do?

Being appointed to certain legal roles can be intimidating. In the space of one event, you could become responsible for someone else's financial health, safety and decision-making. It can be a lot to take on, particularly if you are not prepared for the role.

For instance, before agreeing to be a guardian or conservator, you should know what specific duties you may have. You should also know what to do if you run into problems or questions.

Differences between guardians and conservators

Both a guardian and a conservator make decisions on behalf of an incapacitated adult. However, they serve different purposes.

Broadly, a guardian is someone who manages daily needs and routine expenses. Such responsibilities might include:

  • Determining living arrangements
  • Make decisions on medical care and medication
  • Managing an incapacitated adult's personal care

On the other hand, a conservator manages an incapacitated adult's financial matters. A conservatorship can be especially common when there are significant or complicated assets that require managing. As such, a conservator may be responsible for:

  • Making business-related decisions
  • Bill paying
  • Managing various assets and related expenses
  • Buying and selling property

A person may require either a guardian or conservator; he or she may need both. And there can be different people appointed to the roles, or an individual may serve as both guardian and conservator.

Fulfilling the duties of your role

Whether someone appoints you as a guardian or as a conservator, you must take the position seriously. Making decisions that do not align with the wishes of the ward or protected person can result in legal disputes, as can neglecting your responsibilities.

If you are concerned about your ability to serve in either of these capacities, you  should consult an attorney familiar with guardianships and conservatorships in Colorado. A legal representative can help you understand and manage your duties and help you avoid serious missteps.

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