Although guardianship and conservatorship cases are handled in probate court, they are separate from probate. Both guardianship and conservatorship can be used to assist a person that no longer has sufficient capacity to manage their own care or financial affairs. This can occur due to an aging parent, a person experiencing a disability, or a minor that no longer has a living parent that is able to provide for their care.

Guardianship and conservatorship are a means of last resort. If there are other less-restrictive ways to provide for a person’s needs, those methods will be employed rather than the appointment of a guardian or conservator. Guardianship and conservatorship can usually be avoided through the creation of an estate plan while the person still has capacity, either with a health care directive or a power of attorney. If a person did not create those documents while they had capacity, a guardianship and/or conservatorship proceeding may be the only option available. Our firm is experienced in both contested and uncontested guardianship and conservatorship cases. We primarily handle cases in the seven-county metro area, but have also litigated cases in the out-state counties.


Guardianship is the appointment of a person, a guardian, to assist a person who no longer has capacity with living arrangements, medical decisions and most life choices that are not financial in nature. A guardian is most often a relative but can also be a private organization. A person subject to guardianship is required to have an attorney, either of their own choosing or appointed by the court. These proceedings can be contested, either by the person subject to guardianship, or by another interested party such as a child or spouse. Regardless of whether or not the proceeding is contested, a court hearing is required. It is always helpful to have legal counsel in a guardianship proceeding.


Conservatorship is the appointment of a person, a conservator, to assist with the financial affairs of someone that no longer has the capacity to manage their finances themselves. This lack of capacity can occur because of a disability or because of the aging process. If a person did not create a valid power of attorney prior to losing capacity, the appointment of a conservator is often the only option available to allow a person to manage financial assets. Similar to guardianship proceedings, conservatorship proceedings can be contested or uncontested and always require a hearing. If both guardianship and conservatorship is needed the proceedings can be combined.