guardianship vs conservatorship

One sensitive area in family law centers around guardianship and conservatorship. These agreements are used to protect incapacitated adults and minors in the state. The courts assign someone in this role to help make important decisions for these persons. Establishing guardianship and conservatorship in Ohio can be challenging, but an experienced family law lawyer can put you on the right path. 

What Is Guardianship and Conservatorship?

While these agreements may seem the same, they work in different ways. These designations depend on the age of the individuals.

A guardianship will designate a specific person to make vital decisions for a minor or adult. Many times, they need help managing their financial or personal affairs due to age or incapacity. These guardianships are used for several reasons, such as:

  • The death of a parent
  • Mental or physical incapacity of an adult

Guardians make decisions for the person related to their living arrangements, healthcare needs, education, and other aspects of the individual’s life. 

A conservatorship is a little different. These individuals have the mental capacity to handle their affairs but may not be physically able to do so. Once again, the courts appoint an individual to oversee the person’s debts, assets, and other financial issues. With this, the individual’s interests are managed and protected. 

How to Establishing Guardianship and Conservatorship

In the state of Ohio, the procedure involves several key steps:

Filing a Petition

The concerned party, known as the petitioner, must file a formal petition with the probate court in the appropriate jurisdiction to start the process. The petitioner may be a family member, a close friend, or a state agency. This petition outlines the reasons for seeking guardianship or conservatorship. Along with that, it provides information about the individual in question, such as why a conservatorship or guardianship is needed for them. 

Medical Evaluation

The court often requires a medical evaluation to assess the individual’s capacity. A medical professional will examine the person and provide a report detailing their findings.

Notice to Interested Parties

Legal notices must be provided to all interested parties, including:

  • The individual in question
  • Close family members 
  • Financial institutions and creditors

These notices inform them of the court proceedings. Plus, it allows those parties to voice their concerns or objections.

Court Hearing

A court hearing is held to evaluate the evidence, hear from witnesses, and determine whether guardianship or conservatorship is warranted. The court’s decision is based on the incapacitated individual’s best interests.

If the court determines that guardianship or conservatorship is necessary, it will appoint a guardian or conservator. The appointed individual must fulfill their duties in a responsible manner. As always, they must act in the incapacitated person’s best interests.

Guardians and conservators are required to submit regular reports. These documents demonstrate they are acting in the best interests of the individual. The court does have supervisory authority over the appointed guardian or conservator.

Learn More About Guardianship and Conservatorship in Ohio

Establishing guardianships and conservatorships have many ethical considerations. If you need to seek guardianship and conservatorship in Ohio, talk to the experienced family law team at Axelrod Law Office. We are available to help you find the right option in your situation. Please call our office at (440) 271-8126 or submit a contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.