Family and close friends are often the most important safety net that a person has. Usually, people can depend on their loved ones to offer them unconditional support, but other times, what they need is actually tough love.
Sometimes, family members have to acknowledge that someone they love is not capable of taking care of themselves without support anymore. It can be difficult to see a loved one’s physical health and cognitive abilities in decline as they age or their constant struggles as they adjust to life with a medical condition.
Occasionally, family members will need to provide direct support for an adult with compromised abilities. Family members may eventually request a conservatorship or guardianship from the Colorado probate courts as a means of protecting someone incapable of managing their own life. What is the difference between a conservatorship and a guardianship?
A guardianship involves daily life
A parent is the guardian of their children, and someone who seeks a guardianship will have many of the same responsibilities as a parent. Guardianship requires that you manage the daily tasks of someone’s life and provide for their basic needs.
A guardian should ensure that someone has a safe place to live and that they receive adequate nutrition. Guardians may also need to make choices about someone’s health care and basic needs. Guardianship can be beneficial when someone no longer attends the medical appointments that they should or if they make personal choices that put them or others in danger, like insisting that they want to continue to drive.
Conservatorships are about financial support
If you go to the courts to ask for conservatorship, what you request is control over someone’s finances. If your loved one has started to mishandle their financial assets or if they have become the target of those who prey on older adults, a conservatorship can protect them from mistakes and financial abuse. The conservator will have control over someone’s assets and responsibility for their financial obligations.
Some families will find that both conservatorship and guardianship are necessary. Other times, those in need of a guardianship do not have enough assets of their own to make conservatorship necessary. Understanding the benefits offered by conservatorship and guardianship will make you a better advocate for an aging loved one.