Guardianship and Conservatorship

Guardianship:

There are two common scenarios that the result in a person having a guardian appointed over them. The first scenario occurs when a minor child has a parent that is unfit, unable or unwilling to care for the child. The second scenario occurs when an adult has anĀ  incapacity that makes them unable by reason of any physical or mental condition to receive and evaluate information or to communicate decisions to such an extent that he or she lacks capacity to meet essential requirements for food, clothing, shelter, safety or other care such that serious physical injury, illness, or disease is likely to occur.

When the court appoints a guardianship over a person, the guardian is given the legal right to act on behalf of the minor child or the incapacitated adult. The legal rights given to a guardian include:

  • Obtaining medical care and treatment
  • Enroll a child in school
  • Obtain insurance

Guardianship of a Minor Child

A clear example of a parent being unable to care for a minor child is when the parent has passed away. If both parents are deceased the court will appoint a guardian to care for the minor child. Missouri law allows the parents to appoint a guardian through their estate planning documents such as a will or trust. If the parents do not appoint a guardian, the ultimate decision of who should be named as the guardian will be made by the probate court judge.

A guardianship can be obtained over a child if both parents are alive but found not to be ready, willing and able to provide the necessary care of the child as required by law. For example, a guardianship can be appropriate if the parents are unavailable due to illness, military deployment, drug addiction or other similar circumstances. These examples are provided for reference and are not the only scenarios that make the appointment of a guardianship appropriate.

Guardianship of an Incapacitated Adult

When an adult is unable by reason of any physical or mental condition to receive and evaluate information or to communicate decisions to such an extent that he or she lacks capacity to meet essential requirements for food, clothing, shelter, safety or other care such that serious physical injury, illness, or disease is likely to occur a guardianship is appropriate. Oftentimes a guardianship is requested by the family of an adult who is not able to care for themselves. However, the law does not require the guardian be a family member.

Conservatorship:

A conservatorship is appropriate when a minor child or incapacitated adult has money or property that needs to be managed or their behalf.

When a minor receives an inheritance, a conservatorship is often established to safeguard the money until the minor child becomes an adult. A conservator is appointed to keep the money safe which generally means placing it in a restricted account.

Josh Knight and Scott Simpson have handled numerous guardianship and conservator cases and are ready to assist you. Contact Knight & Simpson today to schedule your appointment today (636) 947-7412