What is the difference between a guardianship and a conservatorship?

Sometimes a person is unable to make their own decisions due to injury, illness, or a disability. In those instances, the Court may be asked to appoint someone to help ensure the person’s needs are met. The Court can appointment a guardian and a conservator who have similar but distinct duties. 

A guardian is appointed by the Court to ensure that a person’s day-to-day needs are taken care. The guardian would make health care decisions and ensure the person’s needs are being met. 

A conservator is appointed by the Court to make decisions regarding finances for a person that is not able to make financial decisions for themselves. The conservator would assist in taking care of real estate, managing bank accounts, and handling investments. The conservator’s duties may range from paying bills to managing property.  

A guardian and a conservator can be appointed for a child or for an adult. The guardian and conservator are subject to Court oversight in their positions so the Court will be able to monitor the actions of the guardian and conservator.

Brooke Swier Schloss
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Family Law and Estate Planning attorney helping families across South Dakota plan and protect their loved ones