The Duties of an Adult Guardian or Conservator
Are you a guardian or a conservator? Or both? The court appoints both guardians and conservators in situations where an individual has been determined to be incapacitated (mentally or physically) or when a minor requires an adult to manage property on their behalf. In this situation, the individual is generally referred to as a ward of the court. The duties associated with being a guardian and a conservator sometimes overlap, and in some cases, the same individual will be appointed to fulfill both roles. But guardians and conservators are not the same.
Guardian: Responsible for a ward’s personal care.
Conservator: Oversees a ward’s finances.
- Meeting the ward’s personal needs.
- Making sure the ward’s medical needs are met.
- In some cases, a guardian may be expected to manage the ward’s finances if it is limited to a simple bank account.
Conservator: Summary of Duties
- Investing the ward’s assets.
- Management of real estate and other tangible property. Florida law requires conservators to get court approval before selling any of the ward’s real estate or personal property.
- Management and oversight of financial accounts.
- Paying the ward’s bills.
- Filing the ward’s income tax returns.
- Annual accounting of actions taken on behalf of the ward beginning with a full accounting of all the ward’s assets and debts at present (including values) filed with the court.
If you have been asked to serve as a guardian or a conservator, speak with an experienced estate planning attorney at Elder Solutions Law Firm about what it means to serve in either capacity, so you understand the duties associated with the role and what it means to be considered a fiduciary.