Guardian of Person
This is an individual or corporation appointed by a probate court pursuant to Chapter 54 of Wisconsin Statutes to make decisions for another adult (the ward) who the court has determined is incompetent. This gives the guardian the ability to make decisions for the betterment of the ward such as living arrangements, medical issues, social interactions, outings, and anything else dealing directly to the care and welfare of the ward.
Guardian of Estate
This is an individual or corporation appointed by a probate court pursuant to Chapter 54 of Wisconsin Statutes to make financial decisions for another adult (the ward) who the court has determined is incompetent. This give the guardian the ability to make decisions for the betterment of the ward such as ensuring all bills are paid, housing is paid, any personal needs such as clothing are purchased, and anything else dealing directly to the care and welfare of the ward.
A Conservator is court appointed and is responsible for managing the financial assets of a client who voluntarily elects to have assistance managing his or her assets.
What's the Difference Between Guardianship and Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney and a guardianship are tools that help someone act in your stead if you become incapacitated. With a power of attorney, you choose who you want to act for you. In a guardianship proceeding, the court chooses who will act as guardian.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is an estate planning document that allows a person you appoint to act in place of you for financial purposes when and if you ever become incapacitated. You may limit a power of attorney to a very specific transaction or you may grant full power to someone over all of your affairs. For more information about powers of attorney, click here.
If an adult becomes incapable of making responsible decisions due to a mental disability, the court may appoint a substitute decision maker, often called a "guardian," but in some states called a "conservator" or other term. Guardianship is a legal relationship between the guardian and the person who because of incapacity is no longer able to take care of his or her own affairs (the "ward").
The guardian can be authorized to make legal, financial, and health care decisions for the ward. Depending on the terms of the guardianship and state practices, the guardian may or may not have to seek court approval for various decisions. In many states, a person appointed only to handle finances is called a "conservator."
Because guardianship involves a profound loss of freedom and dignity, state laws require that guardianship be imposed only when less restrictive alternatives, such as a power of attorney, have been tried and proven to be ineffective. For more information on guardianships, click here.