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Guardianship vs. Conservatorship in Estate Planning

Different Responsibilities for Different Roles

When creating your estate plan, you have several decisions to make, especially if you have children. You may know that guardianship and conservatorship can mean similar things, but in estate planning, their responsibilities are completely different. Read on to learn the differences between guardianship and conservatorship in estate planning.


Guardianship is the legal process of appointing someone to make decisions for another person. It’s common to see guardians appointed to make decisions on behalf of a minor child; in these instances, the responsibilities of a guardian can include decisions about education, healthcare, and general welfare.

Note, however, that there are situations where guardians can be named for adults who are incapable of taking care of their own physical or mental wellbeing. This includes people who are in a coma or who have permanent special needs.


Conservatorship, on the other hand, is the legal process of appointing someone to make financial decisions on behalf of an adult, usually in instances where that person is incapable of making decisions for themselves. This can include decisions about paying bills, managing property, and filing taxes.

Filling Both Roles

There are situations in which a person may serve as both a guardian and conservator of a person. For example, you could name the same person to be both the guardian of your child as well as the conservator over their finances until they reach a certain age. Another example would be if you name a guardian and conservator over someone with special needs that prevent them from taking complete care of themselves. As a guardian, the named party would ensure that the person has what they need to live, and as a conservator, the named party would manage their financial affairs.

Work With an Attorney

When you are in need of putting together an estate plan, deciding whether to name a guardian or a conservator is only one decision on your list. With as many choices as you need to make when putting together an estate plan, it’s important to sit down with an attorney who understands Colorado’s estate planning guidelines and can help you create a plan that meets your needs. At Law Office of Alexandra White, PC, our team can help you work through any estate planning need you have to ensure that you and your family’s best interests are protected both now and in the future.

Learn more about guardianship and conservatorship in Colorado or schedule your free consultation by calling us at (303) 647-4245 or by visiting our website.