South Carolina law provides for both guardianships and conservatorships, both of which may occur when a family member becomes incapacitated to the extent that he or she is unable to make certain decisions on his or her own. This may be due to illness, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which can cause dementia, or due to injury, such as a person who has a severe head injury from a car accident. Likewise, a guardianship or conservatorship also may arise in the case of an adult who is severely developmentally disabled. Whatever the situation may be, South Carolina law allows a court to designate a family member of the incapacitated person to make certain decisions when he or she is simply unable to do so.
A guardianship provides for the appointment of a person to make healthcare decisions for another person who is incapacitated and unable to do so on his or her own. Being the guardian for an incapacitated person allows you to handle all decisions and matters that are not related to the incapacitated person’s finances.
A conservatorship exists when the court appoints a person to handle an incapacitated person’s financial affairs, including the management of money and property. The purpose of a conservatorship is to protect an incapacitated person’s assets and finances by allowing another person to make financial decisions for him or her.
Guardianship and Conservatorship Court Proceedings
In order to start either a guardianship or conservatorship proceeding, you must file a petition in the probate court that states that another person is incapacitated to the point that he or she is unable to manage his or her affairs. South Carolina law also requires that an attorney be appointed for the allegedly incapacitated person, in order to protect his or her interests in the guardianship or conservatorship proceedings. The person appointed by the court to serve as conservator or guardian of an incapacitated person is determined according to priority under South Carolina law. For instance, first priority is given to anyone whom the person had previously designated to be his or her conservator or guardian. If the person made no such designation, the court will give preference to any person who holds power of attorney for the incapacitated person, and then to the person’s spouse. It is only after these individuals are considered that another family member could be appointed as conservator or guardian.
Contact Your South Carolina Conservatorship Attorney Today
Whether you are seeking to be appointed as guardian or conservator of an incapacitated person, or both, we will work with you to develop a plan that will allow you to effectively take care of your loved one and all of his or her needs. Contact our office today and learn how we can help you with what is often an emotional and stressful situation.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.