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Taking care of loved ones through guardianship or conservatorship

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2024 | Estate Planning And Elder Law

There are times when you may need to provide care for someone who is not your child or an immediate family member. While you may be willing to care for this individual and provide support in whatever ways he or she needs, there may be limits to what you can do for him or her regarding legal or financial decisions. However, there are ways you can get permission to make these important choices on behalf of someone who may not be able to make them for himself or herself. 

Through conservatorship or guardianship, you can help a loved one or someone who needs guidance, care or counsel. There is a specific legal process involved with securing either of these, and it is not always easy to navigate. You will benefit from learning as much as possible about your options before you take the first step toward securing guardianship or conservatorship. 

What is guardianship? 

Guardianship is a legal relation permitted by a family court in specific situations. You can have guardianship over property or a person, and a judge may grant it temporarily or permanently. A legal guardian can make important decisions on behalf of someone else, including those related to medical care, housing, educational needs, mental health care, management of property, management of real estate and more. Guardians must act in the best interests of the ward and provide an account of his or her decisions annually. 

Guardianship gives control over day-to-day decisions for a minor age 18 or younger, and it expires when he or she reaches adulthood. With a conservatorship, an individual will be able to act on behalf of an incapacitated adult in matters related to his or her finances. A conservatorship will remain in place until lifted by a court. Guardians or conservators are often family members or others who have a close relationship with the ward. 

Should you move forward?

If you believe that it is in the best interests of your loved one to seek guardianship or conservatorship, you may benefit from seeking legal guidance regarding the options available to you. The Michigan court system can be complex, and you do not have to navigate these potentially complicated and sensitive matters on your own. This will also ensure you have sound guidance when making important decisions for your family.