UsaPositive Asked January 2014

Is there a difference between guardianship and conservatorship?

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regarding guardianship and conservatorship, is there a difference between the two?? As in a DPOA, does guardianship have specific areas like medical, financial, etc....or is it all inclusive?? When there are 2 people becoming co-guardians, do they need to make joint decisions or can decisions be made independently?? What is the approximate cost for having this done (through nj courts) ??
thanks for any input

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EXPERT John L. Roberts May 2016
Guardianship or Conservatorship becomes necessary if people in your family object to what you are doing (or not doing) for the person you are protecting under the POA and health care document.

Guardianship or Conservatorship might also be needed when the POA or Health Care document doesn't include powers that a third party wants to see in the document.

Guardianship and Conservatorship are court proceedings that may involve filing fees, annual accountings and reviews by Court appointed special guardians.

An elder law attorney in your state can review your circumstances and documents, and explain how the procedures work in your state.
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pamstegma Jan 2014
usapositive you are correct. If you are the guardian, they are your ward. A Guardian can be appointed to protect the person only OR to protect the person and their estate (finances). A conservator only protects the finances. I was appointed " Guardian for the person and the estate" of my sister. She lives in a group home, but I provide oversight of her care. The group home receives her SSDI check and does a good job most of the time. If I see a medication error, for example, I call them and get it corrected. Courts will appoint an alternate guardian to handle things when you are not available. Avoid a co-guardianship, it can become very complicated. Primary and alternate is the best setup.
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CarolLynn Jan 2014
You don't indicate what state you're in. Some here are giving you information regarding their own state which may not be the same in your situation.
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ferris1 Jan 2014
Basically, a guardianship has full control over the person you are overseeing, a conservator only handles property/financial dealings usually appointed by the Court in the best interests of the person (incapacitated). You can file without an attorney as I did and court costs ($250 - $300ish) depending your state, or you might get them waived. If two or more people are guardians, both make decisions as if they were one. Hope this helps!
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sherryj Jan 2014
Guardianship destroys your love one. Thy are legally dead and can only be dealt with in probate court. They become wards of the state along with all their assets. Your love one basically becomes private property of the guardianship. Your love one and you are stripped of your civil- Constitutional rights
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UsaPositive Jan 2014
i know, it seems so drastic, but for my father there's no dpoa, i'm trying to do co-guardianship with my 1 sibling at this point.....but they only become "wards" if there's no family, right?
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UsaPositive Jan 2014
cannot do primary or alternate because other person cannot be fully trusted unfortunately......now i'm confused as to whether we should be doing guardianship or conservatorship?? and i have another specific question about guardianship, the other person wants to be the only person in charge of medical, can that be a condition/stipulatedin the court document?? also, does this mean that end of life decisions such as DNR, etc. are up to the person in charge of medical or is that a separate issue altogether?? thanks for any input
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UsaPositive Jan 2014
in NJ
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Operator66 Aug 2014
Full guardian of my mom, court order I can move her to my home from hers,we'll we are at my home,but can't get medical insurance because conservator (sheriffs dept.) where she lived ,will not change her address to mine. social Security wanted to make me representative payee but I am not conservator asking for some input on this matter,I am in ky. Anyone have any answers please advise!!
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pamstegma Aug 2014
operator66, If there is a conservator, you are only guardian for the person and not the property. You will not be representative payee, that is the responsibility of the conservator. I think you need to read the entire court order to understand your limitations. You may be looking at the Judge very soon.
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