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Understanding guardianship and conservatorship

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2021 | Guardianships |

While guardianships and conservatorships may sometimes be discussed in the same context, there are differences between the two. There is basic information about these types of relationships that may be helpful to anyone who has questions.


In Oregon, a guardianship is a court ordered relationship where one person manages the healthcare and placement decisions of another person.

A guardianship may be granted where a person is legally incapacitated. Incapacity means that the person lacks the ability to meet essential requirements for their health or safety. This includes food, shelter, healthcare and clothing.

Guardians are required to consider the protected person’s wishes when making a decision and provide as much independence to the protected person as possible, given his or her condition.


In a conservatorship, the court orders a person to manage the financial affairs of another person because he or she has been found incapable of making those decisions. A conservator is responsible for the person’s finances, income and assets.

It is possible that a protected person may require both a guardian and a conservator. If these are two separate individuals, they may work together to ensure the protected person is adequately cared for.

In some situations, one person may act as both a guardian and a conservator. The court’s decision about who to appoint is dependent on the protected person’s individual circumstances.

Guardians and conservators both have significant responsibilities. They must act in the best interest of the protected person and not outside of the bounds allowed by the court.

An experienced attorney can provide legal counsel and representation to appoint a guardian for an incapacitated adult, as well as provide guidance about conservatorships.