Conservatorship & Guardianship

The primary difference between conservatorship and guardianship is that conservatorship applies only to the incapacitated person’s property. In contrast, guardianship applies to the person’s property and personal decisions. In most states, a conservatorship is established due to an informal hearing in which the petitioner presents evidence that the alleged incapacitated person cannot manage their affairs. A guardianship, on the other hand, can be established only after a formal hearing in which the court appoints the guardian.

What is a Conservatorship or Guardianship?

A Conservatorship is a legal relationship in which a person, the Conservator, is appointed by a court to manage the financial affairs and property of another person, the Ward. The Conservator may also be responsible for making decisions about the Ward’s health care.

A guardianship is a similar legal relationship in which a person, the guardian, is appointed by a court to make decisions about the welfare of another person, the ward. Any person appointed as a conservator or guardian has a fiduciary duty to the manage the ward’s affairs in a responsible manner, and must make regular reports to the Commissioner of Accounts in their county of residence 


If you need to arrange a conservatorship or guardianship, The Dean Law Firm can help. We have many years of experience helping families protect their loved ones.  We will work with you to create a plan that meets your specific needs.

Why Would Someone Need a Conservatorship or Guardianship?

Sometimes, a person may need a Conservator or Guardian to help manage their affairs. This may be because they can no longer make decisions for themselves, perhaps due to age, illness, or injury. A Conservator is appointed by the court to make financial decisions for the person, while a Guardian is appointed to make decisions about their health and welfare. Often times, this type of care can be provided if a valid Power of Attorney and Advanced Directive has been executed by the person needing care. However, if these documents do not exist, or are deemed insufficient to provide the level of care required, a court appointed Conservatorship/Guardianship may be needed. If you are considering asking for a Conservatorship or Guardianship for a loved one, or are unsure if this is needed, it is crucial to speak with an attorney first to determine if this is the right option.

Here are a few reasons one would need a conservatorship or guardianship:

Duties of a Conservator:

Duties of a Guardian:

To Keep In Mind

Need Help?

The legal process of becoming a conservator or guardian can be a stressful experience. The Dean Law Firm can help make the process as smooth as possible for you and your loved ones. We have extensive experience in this area of law, and we will work diligently to ensure that the guardianship or conservatorship is set up correctly and that your loved one’s best interests are always protected. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you.

The Dean Law Firm, PLLC, provides Estate Planning including Wills and Trusts, Small Business Legal Counsel, Conservatorship/Guardianship, and many other services to individuals and businesses in Northern Virginia.