People often wonder what the difference is between a Guardianship and a Conservatorship, and for good reason. These terms are very similar and both pertain to an individual being appointed by the local probate court to help assist someone else with something they cannot manage for themselves. The difference between the two boils down to one word: competency.
A “Guardian,” means any person, association, or corporation appointed by the probate court to have the care and management of the person, the estate, or both of an incompetent or minor (referred to in Ohio as a “ward”). The appointed guardian is then responsible and must account to the probate court to ensure they are providing proper care and management of the ward’s affairs. As a side note, there are multiple types of Guardians. The two most common are Guardianship of the Estate, where the guardian has the authority to make all financial decisions for the Ward. and Guardianship of the Person, where the guardian has the authority to make day-to-day decisions in regards to their personal issues, such as food and living arrangements. The same individual can be both guardian of the person and estate or, if circumstances call for it, one individual can serve as guardian of the person while another serves as guardian of the estate.
A “Conservatorship”, on the other hand, is when a mentally competent adult, who is physically disabled or sick and can no longer care for his/herself or his/her finances, asks the court to appoint someone to take care of those things for them.. Conservatorships and guardianships are treated much the same by probate courts in Ohio. One major difference is that a person who nominates a conservator can terminate that relationship at any time. Guardianships cannot be terminated by the ward, but instead end at death, adulthood in the case of a minor or upon the court determining the ward to be competent.
For more information on Guardianships and Conservatorships please contact AlerStallings toll free at (877) 912-3464.