Guardianship, is a legal process, utilized when a person can no longer make or communicate safe or sound decisions about his/her “person” (health).
Conservatorship is a legal option when an individual cannot make or communicate sound decisions about his/her property or has become susceptible to fraud or undue influence.
Because establishing a guardianship/conservatorship may remove considerable rights from an individual, it should only be considered after alternatives to guardianship have proven ineffective or are unavailable. Alabama Aging Resources does not provide Conservatorship Resources.
We are members of the National Guardianship Association. For more information or to locate a Guardian in your area please click here.
Alternatives to guardianship/conservatorship may include:
- Representative or substitute payee
- Case/care management
- Health care surrogacy
- Durable powers of attorney for property
- Durable powers of attorney for health care
- Living wills
- Community advocacy systems
- Joint checking accounts
- Community agencies/services
- Supported decision-making networks
The professional guardian does not take the place of a family member, although the guardian may form an emotional bond with the person under guardianship.
The professional guardian will coordinate and monitor professional services needed by the person, such as selecting a caretaker, in-home care, and other services.
Funds that belong to the person under guardianship remain the property of that person, and do not become property of the guardian. Alabama Aging Resources, Inc. and/or appointed guardian does not manage the funds of the person in need of support.
The professional guardian is an advocate and acts on behalf of the incapacitated person only to the extent of the court order.
Goals of Guardianship
The goal of effective guardianship is to be able to restore the rights of the individual who, for whatever reason, has had some of them removed by a court after due process. It is true that in many instances once a guardianship has been initiated by a court, it is in place until the incapacitated person dies. However, an annual review and assessment will monitor the need for maintaining or terminating a guardianship, and alert the court to a potential restoration of some or all of the incapacitated person’s rights.