Simply put, both guardianships and conservatorships involve court-appointed decision-makers for a person who is incapacitated due to a mental condition, a physical ailment, or age. If you or a loved one is involved in a guardianship or conservatorship in Colorado, you can access everything you need through the virtual services of the Law Office of Kim M. Dubois PLLC.
- A “guardianship” is a legal relationship that gives one, or several, individuals the authority to make health-related and other personal decisions on behalf of someone who has been deemed incapacitated. A guardian will typically make decisions about another person’s medical treatment, safety, and living arrangements.
- In Colorado, a “guardian” is legally defined as “an individual at least twenty-one years of age, resident or non-resident, who has qualified as a guardian of a minor or incapacitated person pursuant to appointment by a parent or by the court. The term includes a limited, emergency, and temporary substitute guardian but not a guardian ad litem.”
- A “conservator” is a legal relationship that gives one, or several, individuals the authority to make financial decisions on behalf of someone who has been deemed incapacitated. A conservator will typically manage that person’s bank accounts, investments, and other such assets. A conservator will also manage that person’s finances by collecting debts, paying bills, and managing cash flow in and out of that person’s estate.
- In Colorado, a “conservator” is legally defined as “a person at least twenty-one years of age, resident or non-resident, who is appointed by a court to manage the estate of a protected person. The term includes a limited conservator.”
The two relationships are similar; a guardianship concerns health decisions, and a conservatorship concerns financial decisions. In both relationships, the person for whom the decisions are being made must be determined to be incapacitated.
Assessing Mental Capacity
Assessing a person’s mental capacity is an exceptionally important step in assigning a guardian or conservator because it involves removing that person’s free will and their ability to give informed consent, which is a cornerstone in any free society.
In Colorado, as noted above, a guardian may be appointed essentially for a minor or “incapacitated person.” “Incapacitated person” means a person (other than a minor), who is unable to understand and evaluate information or make and effectively communicate decisions to the extent that they cannot look after their own physical health, safety, or self-care, even with technological assistance. In other words, the person cannot make effective health care decisions on their own.
A conservator in Colorado may be appointed essentially for:
- A minor if they own property that requires management or protection or has business interests that may be put at risk because of age, or the property is needed for support and education, or
- Any individual, including a minor, if for reasons other than age:
- Is unable to understand and evaluate information or make and effectively communicate decisions to the extent that they cannot look after their own physical health, safety, or self-care, even with technological assistance, or is missing, detained, or unable to return to the United States; and
- The individual has property that will be wasted or dissipated unless management is provided.
Contact the Law Office of Kim M. Dubois PLLC Today for Assistance
The legal issues surrounding guardianships and conservatorships are obviously complicated and surrounded by legal issues. If you are involved in the potential appointment of a guardianship or conservatorship, you should utilize the virtual services offered by the Law Office of Kim M. Dubois PLLC, which are comprehensive yet affordable.
The Law Office of Kim M. Dubois PLLC provides convenient and affordable virtual options for all of your special needs issues without having to leave the comfort of your own home or workspace. We are a virtual firm and offer free consultations. We follow a rigid policy of returning phone calls and email messages on the same day.
Contact us to learn more and schedule your free consultation.