When a loved one passes away with just a will, or no estate plan at all, their families have to go through a process called probate.The death of a family member can be an emotionally exhausting and tumultuous time. The process can be overwhelming for those who are called on in this difficult time to oversee the distribution of the estate and without clear direction the estate could suffer.


Courts through an adversarial process create a legal guardianship between a guardian and their ward. After a guardian has been appointed the guardian has a legal right and duty to care for the ward. Often times guardianship involve making personal decisions on behalf of the ward. Usually, a person has the status of guardian because the ward is incapable of caring for his or her own interests due to infancy, incapacity or disability.


A conservator is appointed by the court to manage the property and financial affairs of a ward. It is common for a guardian and conservator to be the same person but there is a big difference between the two positions. Some examples of the conservator’s trustee responsibilities include income, real property, and bank accounts. The conservator must use reasonable care by using their skill and knowledge to manage and invest the estate as a prudent investor would.

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