There are actually seven basic forms of legal guardianship, all of which we will define and discuss in this blog. Continue reading to learn more about the seven types of legal guardianship, and who to talk to for more information pertaining this topic and more.
Guardians and Conservators
In many states, these two terms are used interchangeably; however, in other states, the terms are used to describe a separate set of agendas. For example, a guardian has the power to make decisions for the ward, while a conservator is in charge of a ward’s property, assets, and finances. These roles are also referred to as “guardian of estate” or “guardian of person.”
Some wards require complete guardianship over all aspects of their lives, while others need less. Some wards are capable of managing themselves, but need help managing finances and property. Other wards require several types of guardianship, and retain it through a set of individuals, each responsible for a certain aspect of the ward’s life. Here are the seven most common types of conservatorship:
In the case that a ward can make some, but not all, decisions for his or her life, they will be appointed a conservator with limited guardianship. This guardian has restricted control of a ward’s life.
Quite the opposite of limited guardianship, plenary conservatorship gives a person complete control of a ward’s life, property, and finances.
If a legal guardian needs a person to stand-in for a short amount of time, they can appoint a “short-term” guardian without legal consent from court or judge. For example, if a guardian has to serve jury duty or be hospitalized, they can appoint a replacement guardian for a temporary amount of time.
In contrast to short-term conservators, temporary guardianship is used for cases of extreme and immediate emergencies. A person appointed as temporary guardian usually only retains the role for no more than 8 weeks; however this varies from state to state.
A legal guardian can name another person in his or her will that will be their successor as legal guardian to a particular ward. This does require court approval.
In the case that a legal conservator resigns, dies, or becomes incapable of fulfilling their role as guardian, a successor guardian is appointed. This person is either named in the original guardian’s will, or is appointed afterwards.
When a new guardian has to be appointed, a standby guardian steps in for immediate backup. Until the legal documents and court approvals are complete, the standby guardian fills-in so there is no gap between conservators.