When is a Guardianship and or Conservatorship Needed for Adults?

“Guardianship” is the position of being legally responsible for the care of someone who is unable to manage their own affairs. This most often applies to minor children, but may also be assigned to adults.

More specifically, this process used when an adult is no longer able to make safe and reasonable decisions about health care(guardianship) or property and finances (conservatorship). This includes incapacitated elders and developmentally disabled adults. Typically, a family member is appointed the guardian or conservator, after properly petitioning the court to become guardian and/or conservator of the individual.  

Because this process significantly limits the legal rights of the individual under guardianship, the decision to implement this process should not be taken lightly. Before petitioning for guardianship, it is important to understand how the rights of the adult will be impacted. The adult will lose the right to:

  • Decide where and how they want to live.
  • Make their own medical decisions.
  • A driver’s license.
  • The ability to own, buy, sell, and manage property.
  • Possess a firearm and other weapons.
  • Sign a contract.  
  • File lawsuits.
  • The ability to marry someone.
  • The ability to vote in any type of election.


An elderly person may become unable to care for themselves. This includes the inability to remember to take medications, manage finances, or maintain hygiene and other healthy habits. They also may unintentionally make dangerous decisions or put themselves in a dangerous environment. For their well-being and safety, it may be in the best interest of the elder to have a guardian and/or conservator. 

Adults with Disability

Similar to elders, it may be necessary to have an appointed guardian for an adult with disability when they cannot care for themselves. Traditionally, when a child turns 18, the parents no longer have authority over their medical and living decisions. Guardianship and/or conservatorships may be considered to ensure the safety and protection of those with a disability.

If you are ready to consider guardianship for a loved one, please give us a call at 864.699.9801 to schedule your consultation.

*This blog does not create an attorney/client privilege and is used to provide general information, not legal advice.

Leave A Comment

Create your account