How can you get someone to take over conservatorship or guardianship?

3 answers | Last updated: Oct 15, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I have a friend that is taking care of this man who isn't related to her. He has alcohol dementia, and is unable to care for himself. He doesn't remember to take his meds or to eat. He can't really take care of himself. Can't drive. Gets lost if he goes for a walk, and can't tell anyone where he lives. She has been taking care of him since he doesn't have a family, and she is getting tired and frustrated.

How can she get someone else to take over the conservatorship or guardianship?

Expert Answers

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.

It's unclear whether or not your caregiving friend has been appointed the legal guardian or conservator for the man you describe, but either way, she should get relief from her duties through the local probate court.

That court, which you can find through a search of "probate" and the nearest city or county, is likely the spot that manages people who are appointed to care for those who cannot care for themselves. Because the procedure is becoming so common, many courts now offer simplified procedures or free or low-cost help that makes the process quicker and faster.

If your friend was previously appointed by a court as guardian or conservator, she will need to petition that court to get a substitute appointed in her place. If there is another person who might be willing and able to take over the caregiving duties, he or she can petition the court to be named. If there is no such logical soul in the picture, the court will name someone"”usually called a public guardian or conservator, who has been sanctioned for the position.

For more detailed information, see's Adult Guardianship and Conservatorship page at

Community Answers

Lovecare0210 answered...

I had a simular situation with my parents neighbor. Miss Barbara is correct, we had to find a family member and they took the problem to the court for court appointed guardianship. It took a while to do - around 6 months, so we just keep helping out until it got done. Good luck, please hang in there.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Guardianship by attorney needs to be thought out very carefully. If there is anyone in the world to take the challenge go with them. In my experience they do not take anything the patient wants or objects to because they have total control and they are not shy about telling anyone about it, except the "ward". They will say what the ward wants to hear and turn around and laugh making comments like "aw he'll forget the whole conversation within an hour ha ha"It is sad to say but I have seen it,watched it,and it's real. They make about 200.00 to 300.00 an hour working a guardianship case, so when they are out getting ice cream after dinner it is not common for them to stop by talk about 20 minutes and send a bill for 300.00 on that stop. They are cold people that could care less. This does not apply to all, but I know 1 inparticular that has made this issue a horrible experience on top of dealing with this aweful disease that makes them vulnerable to be ripped of their dignity,pride, and what money that is left.