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Guardianship and Conservatorship

For the person who is no longer able to understand enough to sign documents, other legal tools are available. For example, the Social Security Administration and the Veterans Administration can appoint a representative payee to receive and handle the benefit checks on behalf of a person who is mentally or physically unable to handle the money. The government agencies will consider handling the person's benefits this way only after being notified that the person is having a problem handling the money himself or herself; the agencies are required to investigate any report about the person's inability to handle the funds before they arrange for a representative payee.

The power of a representative payee is limited to managing a person’s benefits at the government agency that grants it. If the person has other money or property that he or she cannot manage, it may be necessary for a state court to appoint a conservator or a guardian. A conservator handles only finances; one is appointed by the court if the person owns a house or other property that needs management or protection. A guardian generally makes decisions about health care and other personal matters, but not about significant financial matters. A guardian must honor a person's advance directive for health care. A person for whom a conservator or guardian has been appointed loses control over his or her own finances. For that reason, the court will generally not grant them if there is a less restrictive option available to handle the person’s needs.

After a petition for conservatorship and/or guardianship is filed with the court, notices and copies are given to the person for whom the conservatorship and/or guardianship is requested, and mailed to close relatives. The court also appoints a court visitor who will interview the person along with other people who have information that may be useful, including healthcare providers. If there is an objection within 15 days, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether a guardianship and/or conservatorship is needed. If there are no objections, the judge generally signs the order appointing as conservator and/or guardian the person who asked for those powers. There are annual reporting requirements for both a guardianship and conservatorship. The guardian and conservator can be the same person or different people, and there can be one without the other.

A conservator and/or guardian usually has broad authority. A conservator is required to give a financial bond to guarantee that money or property will not be misused. Both a conservator and a guardian must make a written report to the court once a year.

Please contact us for help with conservatorships and guardianships.

Client Success Stories

Mount Hood Senior Solutions
February 7, 2022.
We value and appreciate all of their hard work. Always a pleasure to work with! Communicates effectively and in a timely manner. Highly recommend
Nicole Lu
December 7, 2020.
We used Meredith for our estate planning and cohabitation contract recently after we bought a house. She was very responsive, very Covid aware/safe and lovely to work with.
Daniel Lee
January 7, 2020.
We had a great experience working with Meredith when putting together our estate planning documentation. She was always professional and courteous, explaining legal concepts and terminology in a way that was straightforward for us to understand. Meredith was responsive and open to answering our questions so we could fully evaluate different options. She provided sound recommendations for us to consider based on our current position and point in life. Even given the gravity and importance of the estate planning process, Meredith put us at ease and made us feel comfortable coming to decisions and documenting outcomes that work best for us. We intend to work with Meredith for future needs that we may have, and would highly recommend working with her to others.
Floyd Frick
March 28, 2019.
The best! .... I used Meredith to get me thru an estate settlement. It went smooth. Thanks.
Christine Borchert
August 9, 2018.
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Beaverton, Oregon Office

1865 NW 169th Place, Suite 202
Beaverton, Oregon 97006

Vancouver, Washington Office

201 NE Park Plaza Drive, Suite 200
Vancouver, Washington 98684

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