Guardian & Conservator Services
Padgett Services LLC (PSL) will serve as your or your family member's court appointed guardian and/or conservator. We will work you and your family to provide the most least restrictive safe environment. We can arrange appropriate housing, doctor appointments, recreation and entertainment, and help take care of all your personal needs as well as protect your financial assets to help insure you will receive what's necessary to maintain your quality of life.
What Do You Need to Know?
What is a Guardian? A guardian is a person who is responsible for your personal affairs and is responsible for decisions about care provisions and living arrangements of the protected person. A guardian is appointed by a judge after he or she determines that you are incapacitated.
What is a Conservator? A conservator is a person who is responsible for managing your estate and financial affairs. A conservator is appointed by a judge after he or she determines that you are incapacitated.
What is the difference between a Guardian and a Conservator? A guardian makes decisions about your person. For example, your guardian could decide where you live, what you eat or which doctor you see. A conservator makes decisions about your money. For example, your conservator could pay your bills or invest your money for your benefit.
Can the same person be both a Guardian and a Conservator? Yes. Frequently the same person is appointed as guardian and conservator. However, the court can appoint different people to fill these jobs if it determines that would be in your best interests.
Who decides that I need to have a Guardian / Conservator?
You can make that decision or a family member may believe
you are in need of help and ask the court to appoint someone.
A judge makes the final determination as to whether you need
to have a guardian / conservator appointed.
How does the judge decide that I need to have a Guardian
/ Conservator appointed? The judge must find that you are a
“protected person.” In order to categorize you as a “protected
person”, the court must find that because of mental impairment, you are unable to receive and evaluate information effectively or to respond to people, events, and environments to such an extent that you do not have the capacity to:
1. To meet the essential requirements for your health, care, safety, habilitation, or therapeutic needs without the help of a guardian; (You cannot take care of yourself physically) or,
2. To manage your property or financial affairs or to provide for your support of your legal dependents without the help of a conservator. (You cannot manage your money)
What if the court simply disagrees with the way I take care of myself and my property? Is this enough to support the appointment of a guardian / conservator? No. If the judge ONLY finds that you exercised poor judgment, that is not enough to qualify you as a “protected person.”
How does the process get started?
Someone makes an official request to the court to appoint a guardian / conservator for you. The
act of making this official request is called “filing a petition.”
Who can file a petition to have a guardian / conservator appointed for me?
Any of the following people can file a petition to have the court appoint a guardian / conservator
2. A person who is either responsible for your care or who has assumed responsibility for your care;
3. A facility providing your care, like a hospital or nursing home;
4. The person you have nominated as guardian or conservator, (more about this later);
5. ANY other interested party, including, but not limited to, Senior Services or the Department of Health and Human Resources.
Do I have any say over who will be my guardian / conservator?
Yes. There are several ways in which your preference will be considered.
1. If you already have written down your preference in a legal document like a nomination of guardian or conservator, medical power of attorney or advance directive, this person shall be the first preferred nominee for guardian or conservator;
2. So long as you have capacity to do so, you may at any time nominate an individual to serve as your conservator / guardian;
3. If you have already named a surrogate decision maker in a legal document that person will be treated as your nomination for your guardian.
4. Additionally, anyone who has the capacity to form a preference may nominate his or her own guardian or conservator. The nomination may be made in writing, by an oral request to the court, or may be proved by other evidence.
You’ve been talking about nominees or nominations, doesn’t the court have to follow my instructions if I’ve already expressed who I want to serve as my guardian / conservator?
Not necessarily. The final decision as to who will serve as your conservator / guardian rests with the court. The court will appoint your nominee if it determines that he or she is eligible to act and would serve in your best interests.
Who is eligible to serve as a guardian / conservator?
1. Any adult individual can serve as a guardian / conservator so long as they can show that
a. they have the necessary education
b. they have the ability and background to perform the duties of guardian / conservator
c. the court determines that they are capable of providing an active and suitable program of guardianship / conservatorship
2. The following persons ARE NOT ELIGIBLE to serve as guardian / conservator
a. Persons employed by or affiliated with any public agency, entity or facility which is providing substantial services or financial assistance to you are not eligible to serve as guardian / conservator. (This category includes nursing home employees.)
If a family member had some trouble with the law when he was a teenager, does this mean he cannot
serve as my guardian? Not necessarily. Any person being considered for appointment as a guardian / conservator must provide information regarding any crime, other than traffic offenses, of which he or she was convicted. The court must then consider this information as one factor in the individual’s fitness as guardian / conservator.
There are many times where professional guardians / conservators are used. For example:
If the court determines that there is no family member suitable to serve.
Some seniors do not have children who live close enough to them;
Seniors do not want to disrupt their children's lives;
There is fighting and arguments between family members on what should happen to the parent or who should be in control.
That's where we come in. PSL is available to assist the senior or the family while keeping the senior's best interest as the most important element of care.
Trustee Services For All Types of Trusts
PSL will perform Trustee duties for all types of trusts: Revocable, Irrevocable, Marital, Special Needs, Drug and Alcohol Abuse/Addicts.
Trusts can be used to preserve assets, titling of property, for estate planning purposes and to enable those with disabilities to have a good quality life while being eligible for governmental assistance. Trusts can be included in a Last Will or as a separate document. The right choice for you will depend upon your individual circumstances, what you want to accomplish, and the size of your estate. Your attorney and accountant should be a part of this decision making process.