With the population aging, the onslaught of some of the conditions that come with aging is increasing. The need for a guardian/conservator is more prevalent today than in years past.
A guardianship is a legal process whereby one individual is appointed by the Probate Court to have the authority and responsibility for the personal affairs of another person who has been adjudged incapacitated. The guardian makes personal decisions for the incapacitated to the extent decreed by the Probate Court judge and based on the person’s best interest.
A conservatorship is a legal process similar to guardianship; however, it deals only with the financial affairs of an individual who has been disabled. The conservator has the authority to take charge of and manage the protectee’s property and money.
The Missouri guardianship statutes are designed to tailor guardianship and/or conservatorship to meet the specific individual needs of a proposed ward or protectee. They recognize that persons who are incapacitated or disabled have different abilities in different areas. In determining the degree of supervision necessary, the court must apply the least restrictive alternative principle as defined in the guardianship law. The supervision ordered by the court shall not restrict the respondent’s personal liberty or his freedom to mange his financial resources to any greater extent than is necessary to protect the respondent and his financial resources.
Whether it is to provide for the treatment of an afflicted individual or to protect the assets that they may have spent a career earning, a guardianship/conservatorship may be in a person’s best interest and should be considered if the need arises.