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The terms guardian and conservator are often used interchangeably despite having different meanings.

Guardian and conservator mean two different things but are often used interchangeably resulting in confusion for the average person. The Motley Fool explains the different responsibilities in “What Is the Difference Between Conservatorship and Guardianship?“.

Traditionally, a guardian is a person designated by a court to take care of a person’s physical needs. The guardian makes health care decisions for example. A conservator is a person appointed to take care of financial affairs.

Similarly, when executing a general durable power of attorney and a health care power of attorney, having these distinct guardianship and conservatorship positions allows for different people to be assigned to the different roles.

A good guardian might not necessarily make a good conservator.

Over time the differences between the two positions have become blurred and some jurisdictions have done away with them completely. Others have kept them.

Even in those states that have nominally done away with either a guardianship or a conservatorship courts are generally still able to appoint different people to the different roles if necessary.

An elder law attorney can help clear up the confusion about the rules in your state.

Reference: Motley Fool (March 18, 2016) “What Is the Difference Between Conservatorship and Guardianship?

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Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.