In Idaho, a guardian is a person appointed by the court to take care of another person called the ward. A conservator is a person appointed by the court to manage the financial affairs of the ward. The guardian and conservator may be the same person or they may be different persons.
Sometimes families need to petition a court to obtain a guardianship or conservatorship for a loved one who has diminished capacity. Because the court would be taking away the right of self-determination–the right to determine where one will live, who one will live with, how one’s money will be managed, and what kind of medical treatment one will receive–this is never an easy decision. In making these decisions, courts are put in the difficult position of balancing the individual’s rights against ensuring the individual’s safety and wellbeing.
The decision to grant a limited or a full guardianship or conservatorship is determined by the capacity of the proposed ward. Making a capacity assessment gives the court the ability to tailor a guardianship or conservatorship to the ward’s specific needs.
If you have concerns about an elderly loved one’s rights or safety, contact the Elder Law Office of Tom Packer.