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Understanding the difference between guardianships and conservatorships

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2021 | Guardianships

There are many instances in which a court finds the need to appoint a guardian or conservator. Typically these roles are necessary when a minor or physically and/or mentally incapacitated adult becomes a ward of the court and therefore needs additional assistance. It is common mistake for guardianship and conservatorship to be used interchangeably. Especially in the state of Florida, while there are many similarities between guardianship and conservatorships, they are also two extremely different roles with different responsibilities.

Similarities between conservatorship and guardianship

Both conservatorships and guardianships are intended to provide additional and specialized care to the ward. Also, both roles require patience, time, and a considerable amount of work. Both positions must also be approved by local courts. The actual and specific responsibilities of a conservator and guardian are where the two roles begin to differ.

Differences between conservatorship and guardianship

A conservatorship is often put into place when the assets and finances of the ward require considerable attention. A conservator is able to make financial decisions on behalf of the ward including when to buy, sell or hold assets, investment decisions and general financial management.

A guardian, on the other hand, is charged with the personal care and needs of the ward. These duties can include medical care, personal well-being of the ward, ensuring the ward’s living arrangements are suitable. A conservator may assist with minor financial responsibilities such as paying utility bills.

Both roles are important

Although both roles are very different, a conservator and guardian are both extremely important. Understanding the difference between the two roles can help you understand how to best meet the needs of your loved one.