Know the Difference Between a Guardianship and a Conservatorship

New York attorney

Deciding who will be the primary caregiver for an aging loved one is one of the most difficult decisions families have to make. Not only do you have to decide how much care they need in their day-to-day life, but you also have to determine how to manage their finances, healthcare and more. There’s typically some confusion among family members as to the differences between a guardianship and conservatorship. Sometimes this person will be the same. In other situations, one person can be a guardian and another is a conservator. It’s always ideal to work with a New York attorney to properly appoint each one. Here are the differences you need to know about.

Guardianship Deals With Health Decisions

A guardianship is defined as a legal relationship giving one person or multiple people the authority to make health-related decisions and other personal decisions for a loved one who is deemed incompetent or incapacitated. This designation must be recognized by a court before the guardian has the legal right to make decisions on the person’s behalf. As a guardian, you are responsible for your loved one’s overall well-being. While you can communicate with others on the right thing to do, you will be the one ultimately making the final decision.

Conservatorship Deals With Financial Decisions

A conservatorship is a similar legal relationship as a guardianship, but the decisions revolve around financial matters on behalf of the incapacitated or incompetent person. As a conservator, you will manage the payment of your loved one’s bills, managing cash flow, investments, bank accounts, debts and any other financial-related matters. It’s important to understand the specific language with the conservatorship designation so you know what decisions you have the right and duty to make. Working with NYC lawyers can help with this aspect.

Choosing The Right Guardian Or Conservator

It’s easy to see why appointing the right guardian or conservator is a very important decision. The person or people appointed are solely responsible for the health and wellbeing of the loved one who is incapacitated. Your loved one may have already chosen their guardian and conservator with a New York attorney as part of their living will. Otherwise, it is often left up to the courts to determine who these people should be based on the best interests of the person in need. 

Gordon & Gordon is consistently recognized as one of the top law firms in NYC because of our wide range of expertise and dedication to serving our clients the right way. Setting up long-term care plans for an aging loved one is never easy, but our NYC lawyers make the process as simple as possible. Whether you need assistance with wills, probate, estates, elder law care or have related litigation matters to deal with, we are here to help. It all starts with a free consultation to understand your situation, so contact us today to see how we can help.