A Conservator is a person appointed by the Court to handle the financial matters and property of a minor or adult person who is incapacitated. A Guardian is a person appointed by the Court to make decisions concerning a person's physical needs. An incapacitated person is someone who is physical and/or mentally unable to care for himself or herself.
A Conservator may be appointed when a person can no longer handle property or manage business affairs. A Guardian may be appointed when a person can no longer make decisions regarding their personal needs. The person might have property that will be wasted without a Conservator or be in need of funds to support them. In many cases, the person has entered a nursing home and has become incapacitated and needs his/her property to be sold in order to generate funds to support them while in a nursing home. In other cases, a Guardian might become necessary because the person might have suffered a stroke or other illness and be unable to respond or make medical decisions alone.
Once the petition for appointment of a Conservator or Guardian is filed for an adult, the Court will appoint a physician to examine the ward and render a report of his findings. In addition, the Court will appoint a Court Representative and a Guardian ad Litem. In the case of a minor the Court will only appoint a Guardian ad Litem. If the petition is granted, the Court will set a bond for the conservator and will set the first accounting period. The Conservator must file an inventory with the Court within 90 days of appointment. The Conservator must keep a record of all transactions, both incoming and outgoing, and give an accounting as the Court directs.