When a friend or loved one is unable to make responsible decisions about their finances, property, living situation, or personal care the creation of a guardianship or conservatorship may be necessary to allow the appointed guardian or conservator to help provide necessary assistance.
Guardianships and conservatorships can be created for both minors and adults. To establish a guardianship or conservatorship for an adult, the court will need to find that the individual is "incapacitated." This does not require that the individual have no capacity to make any decisions. Finding that the individual is incapacitated simply means that due illness, age, or other factors they are no longer able to make responsible decisions regarding their person or property to the extent that the assistance of a guardian is necessary or desirable for their protection.
Minors are deemed by law to lack capacity to manage their own affairs. In most cases the child's parents will serve as his or her natural guardians until the child reaches the age of majority (19). A guardianship or conservatorship for a minor is necessary if both of the child's parents are unable or unfit to serve as parents. Guardianships for minors are similar to custody cases. However, in a guardianship case, the court will typically determine which non-parent should be given guardianship of the child, in a custody case the court will generally determine how the child's parents should arrange custody and visitation between them.
A conservatorship for a minor could be necessary if the child earns, receives or inherits a large sum of money in their own name.
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