Must I keep a guardianship/conservatorship?

Kdc777 asked...

I have had a guardianship and conservatorship over my father for the last two years. My parents have been divorced for 24 years and since I have been taking care of my father. Both of my parents want to get married and all my siblings are for it. I have been told that even though they get married my dad will always need someone to be his guardian and conservator. Why is this and is it ever possible to break this but still take care of him?

Expert Answer

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.


Your duties as guardian or conservator need not last forever.


But as you know best since you’ve been doing the job for a while now, a judge appointed you to serve because he or she was convinced that your father was not capable of managing his own finances or personal affairs.


In some cases, those involved can later go to court and plead and prove that an adult guardianship or conservatorship is no longer necessary. But those cases are rare.


If circumstances change, however, such as a remarriage as your dad is contemplating, it sometimes makes more sense to have another person appointed to serve, relieving the first of the duty. For example, the new spouse may become the new best person for the job. Or you may all agree that a neighbor or close friend might be best suited for the job. You could still volunteer to visit and help out your dad as you all saw fit, but the new appointee would be legally responsible for handling his money and affairs.


To get a substitute appointed, you need to file the appropriate forms with the court that originally appointed you. The court will then notify others who may be affected such as your siblings and may also hold a brief hearing to see whether anyone objects.


Since it sounds as if your family members are all on the same page with that, it should be a simple matter. Check your appointing papers for the court’s contact information or search online for its website; many provide all the forms you need, along with instructions for completing and filing them.