Guardianships and Conservatorships
We provide counsel and representation to clients who are seeking to assist loved ones who are facing incapacity as the result of illness or injury or aging and are no longer able to manage care or financial affairs. In situations where the health and safety and financial affairs are in jeopardy and where there are no advanced directives or power of attorney documents or such documents have failed to serve the intended purpose, Colorado law allows a person to ask the courts for assistance. The courts can then appoint a guardian and a conservator to assist the person who is at risk. Such persons also include minor children who may require the protection and oversight of the courts regarding their personal and financial affairs.
A guardian is responsible for a person’s health, safety and welfare. A guardian may have the authority to make decisions regarding a person’s health care, residence, and education. A guardian can be a family member or a professional.
A conservator is responsible for a person’s financial and legal affairs. A conservator may have the authority to make decisions regarding the management and use of a person’s assets and property.
Some facts about guardianship and conservatorship proceedings:
- *The authority of the guardian or the conservator may either be limited or unlimited depending on the circumstances and degree of impairment or incapacity of the person.
- A person may require both a guardian and a conservator. In other circumstances, a person may require only a guardian or a conservator.
- *A person alleged to be incapacitated or in need of protection is referred to as a “respondent” in the court proceedings. When a guardian is appointed, the person is found to be “incapacitated” and is referred to as a “ward.” When a conservator is appointed, a person is found to be in need of protection and is referred to as a “protected person.”
- When a court appoints a guardian and/or a conservator for a person, some of the person’s constitutional rights are removed. Therefore, the procedure for the appointment of a guardian and/or a conservator ensures that the person’s rights are protected throughout the proceedings. An example is that a respondent is entitled to be represented by an attorney and if the respondent does not have an attorney, the court will appoint an attorney to ensure the respondent is represented.
- Being appointed as a guardian or a conservator is a position of great responsibility and if appointed in either role, a person must be aware of the duties and the accountability to the court.
We represent persons seeking the appointment of a guardian and/or a conservator for a loved one. We also represent persons who are the respondent or the subject of the proceedings to object to the appointment of a guardian and/or conservator. It is always our goal to preserve the rights and maximize the independence of the respondent whenever possible. However, when the protections are found to be necessary, we assist the family to understand the respondent’s needs and to establish the appropriate structure to maximize the respondent’s independence yet ensure the protection of the respondent’s health, safety and financial affairs.