Guardianship and Conservatorship In Missouri
April 11, 2022
What is a Guardian?
A guardian is a person who has been appointed by a court (usually the probate division of the circuit court) to have the care and custody of a minor or of an adult person who has been legally determined to be incapacitated.
What is a Conservator?
A conservator is a person or a corporation, such as a bank or trust company, appointed by a court (again, usually the probate division of the circuit court) to manage the property of a minor or of an adult person who has been legally determined to be disabled.
Guardianship is a legal process whereby one individual is appointed by a Probate Court to have the authority and responsibility for the personal affairs of another person who has been adjudged incapacitated. In particular, the guardian has the power to decide care and custody matters for his ward. The guardian makes personal decisions for the incapacitated person to the extent decreed by the Probate Court judge and based on that person’s own best interest (such as where he lives or the care he requires).
Conservatorship is a legal process similar to guardianship; however, it deals only with the financial affairs of an individual who has been adjudged disabled. The conservator has the authority to take charge of and manage the protectee’s property and money. A conservator has no authority to make decisions regarding another individual’s personal affairs. Only a guardian has the power to make such decisions. A person may be both guardian and conservator for an individual who is adjudged incapacitated or disabled.
A minor child needs a guardian. Usually, the parents are natural guardians of their children under the law. They do not need to nor can they be appointed guardians of their minor children. (They can be appointed to be guardians once a child reaches the age of majority.) A parent has a presumption of fitness to be guardians of their own children.
When a parent cannot serve in this capacity due to being unable, unwilling, or unfit to be guardians for their children then the court will appoint a guardian for them.
For some families, this is a great temporary solution to help stabilize the life of a child when either or both parents are struggling with their own stability due to a myriad of factors. If you need guardianship.