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Helping Families Protect Vulnerable Loved Ones With Guardianships And Conservatorships

We want to make sure our most vulnerable loved ones are protected from potential harm. When they can no longer take care of themselves or struggle to make decisions regarding their finances, it is important that we take the proper steps to ensure that they have the support they need.

In Colorado, there are various legal measures that families can put in place to help their loved ones. Conservatorships and guardianships are two of the options available, and the estate planning attorneys at GEM Family Law, can help you determine if either of these is right for your particular situation.

It is important to note that each of these terms has its own separate meaning under Colorado law. If you are calling from out of state about a loved one who lives in Denver or elsewhere in Colorado, your state laws may be different. We want to explain the difference below to allow you to learn more about how the process works here.

Conservatorships In Colorado

Under a conservatorship, a person no longer makes financial decisions for himself or herself. Once the court establishes the conservatorship, the conservator is the one who makes the financial decisions. The court does not need to find that the individual who owns assets is incapacitated. Instead, it must simply decide that a conservatorship is right for the specific situation for the reasons requested in the petition. The court will then monitor the conservatorship to ensure that assets are not being misappropriated.

How Is A Conservatorship Different From A Financial Power Of Attorney?

There are two main differences between conservatorships and financial powers of attorney. The first involves who is seeking the arrangement requested. Typically, in conservatorships, a loved one is concerned about the financial decisions that another is making. They are asking the court to put them in charge of the vulnerable person’s finances. In financial powers of attorney, the person with the assets is allowing another individual to have co-control over financial affairs. Powers of attorney can also be limited in scope.

Another difference concerns the authority of each aspect here. In a conservatorship, the vulnerable individual is no longer allowed to make most financial decisions. In a power of attorney, the person with the assets can still make certain choices unless he or she becomes incapacitated. Our lead estate planning attorney, Alex Kirven, can help answer any additional questions you have about these matters.

Can Conservatorships Be Terminated?

Yes – although it can sometimes be a challenging ordeal. It is possible for conservatorships to end, but you should discuss all of this with your attorney before establishing a conservatorship. It is possible that there may be specific things you need to do to ensure that you have the proper safeguards in place.

How Colorado Guardianships Work

Guardianships are established when a loved one is incapacitated. People seeking guardianship must first have the courts declare the loved one incapacitated, and then the court will determine the extent of the guardianship put in place. Often, the guardian will be making decisions regarding the health and finances of the incapacitated person. (In conservatorships, there is no need to find the individual incapacitated.)

Minors may also need guardianships. If a child has lost his or her parents or meets other criteria, such as a parent being unfit to care for the child, a guardian may be appointed by the courts. We can assist with both adult and child guardianship proceedings.

What GEM Family Law Can Do To Help

If you believe that a loved one could benefit from someone making medical or financial decisions on their behalf, GEM Family Law, can provide guidance on appointing a guardian or conservator. If you or a loved one are already under guardianship or conservatorship, our firm can make sure that your rights and your best interests are respected.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

To discuss the specific needs of your situation, we invite you to contact our Denver office by calling 720-443-4892 or by sending us an email. Our lawyers will help you understand the options available to you and ensure you take the proper steps to help protect your family.