The need to establish a guardianship or conservatorship of a parent, relative, or other loved one often comes at a difficult time. After all, no one needs a conservatorship when they are doing well. It may be difficult to know when the right time comes to step in, and many people are hesitant and regretful to take over and remove their loved one’s independence. It can be a tough decision to make, but having an experienced elder care attorney by your side can make the process go as smoothly as possible.
Guardianship and Conservatorship: What’s the Difference?
When a person is no longer able to take care of themselves and their affairs, it may be time to set up a conservatorship or guardianship. A judge can appoint someone to help with an elderly or incapacitated person’s personal and financial affairs, granting them the authority to make decisions on their behalf. A guardianship involves the authority to make decisions regarding health and medical care, as well as other personal decisions. A conservatorship describes the authority to make financial decisions, pay bills, and access money for the incapacitated person.
Guardianships and conservatorships are available to serve those who have become incapacitated. This may be from an accident, physical or mental health illness, or impairments caused by old age. A person who makes bad decisions, but is otherwise mentally and physically fit, would not be a good candidate for a conservatorship or guardianship.
Guardianship and conservatorship often go hand in hand, but sometimes a person will demonstrate the need for one and not the other. The judge may grant the guardianship and conservatorship to one person, or may designate different individuals, depending on their needs and talents.
Establishing a Guardianship or Conservatorship in South Carolina
Becoming a loved one’s official guardian or conservator can be a complex process. Fortunately, a guardianship/conservatorship attorney can help. The interested party must first file a petition requesting the guardianship or conservatorship. The petitioner must prove the incapacitated person is unable to handle his or her own medical and/or financial decisions. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem to ensure the interests of the incapacitated party are also represented. State law determines who is shown preference in a conservatorship/guardianship case. However, a judge may appoint someone else as guardian or conservator if he or she can prove it is in the best interest of the incapacitated person.
The guardianship/conservatorship may be granted on a temporary or long-term basis, depending on the needs of the incapacitated person. At any point in which the incapacitated person becomes able to regain control of their affairs, the guardianship or conservatorship will be dissolved.
Need Legal Assistance? Call a Greenville Conservatorship Attorney.
The role as conservator or guardian for a loved one can be stressful and taxing. The elder care attorneys at Elliott Frazier Law Firm are here to provide the legal support you need every step of the way. Contact our office in Greenville, South Carolina to schedule an initial consultation.
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.