Adult Guardianship

Guardianship of an Adult

An adult may need a guardian to exercise legal powers when he or she "lacks sufficient capacity to make or communicate significant responsible decisions concerning his or her health or safety." An adult who has a guardian is called a ward. The ward may need this form of legal protection due to severe forms of conditions such as:

  • Disabilities or special needs
  • Advanced age
  • Mental illness 

The adult ward in a guardianship may have these following rights removed or conditioned:

  • Contract marriage
  • Make, modify, or terminate other contracts
  • Consent to medical treatment
  • Establish a residence or dwelling place
  • Change domicile
  • Revoke a revocable trust
  • Bring or defend lawsuits (except regarding the guardianship)

The ward will retain the right to make a will and the right to vote. Although the guardian may exercise the legal powers which are taken away, he or she may not force medical treatment which the ward rejects.

Conservatorship of an Adult

An adult may need a conservator to manage his or her property when he or she "lacks sufficient capacity to make or communicate significant responsible decisions concerning the management of his or her property." An adult who has a conservator is called a ward. The ward may need this form of legal protection due to severe forms of conditions such as:

  • Disabilities or special needs 
  • Advanced age 
  • Mental illness 

The adult ward in a conservatorship may have these following rights removed or conditioned:

  • Make, modify, or terminate contracts, other than the power to contract marriage 
  • To buy, sell, or otherwise dispose of or encumber property 
  • Enter into or conduct other business or commercial transactions 
  • Revoke a revocable trust 
  • Bring or defend lawsuits (except regarding the conservatorship) 

The ward will retain the right to make a will and the right to vote.