Guardianship Or Conservatorship Can Protect You And Your Adult Loved One

Guardianship or conservatorship in South Carolina requires the intervention of the probate court to provide a permanent solution for someone needing help with their health care or financial decisions. The laws and procedures that govern guardianship and conservatorship in SC are defined by statute. But, the state and probate court basically oversee the entire process from appointment to yearly maintenance. Attorney Ian Taylor can help you navigate the process and provide document drafting and representation to get your case through the probate court.

  • A guardianship or guardian is given authority to make health care decisions for the person who is incapacitated.
  • A conservatorship or conservator is given authority to make financial decisions for the person who is incapacitated.

How To Establish A Guardianship Or Conservatorship

To start the process, the person seeking appointment as a guardian or conservator must file a petition with the probate court generally in the county where the incapacitated person is living. At this point, court rules must be followed to ensure proper service and the rights of all parties are considered. This part of the case is very similar to a civil lawsuit.

What Does Incapacitated Mean?

An incapacitated person may be older, under a medical condition or have special needs. Throughout the process you work with the probate court to establish that the person who needs help is incapacitated. You do this by having appointed doctors examine the person and provide a report to the court. An attorney and guardian ad litem (usually the same person) is appointed or retained by the alleged incapacitated person. He or she will provide a report to the court as well. After all of the tasks to gather a case for guardianship or conservatorship (usually a few months), a hearing date will be set. The petitioner must then show that the person they are trying to help is incapacitated and that a guardianship and conservatorship is in their best interest.

When Facing Long-Term Issues

If it appears that there are long-term issues with the alleged incapacitated person, the judge may recommend having both a conservator and guardian appointed.

These two responsibilities do not have to be given to the same person. Whether you need both health and financial protection depends on each case. Your attorney can help you decide what to petition for. The petitioner does not need to be the same person who may be appointed as guardian or conservator. These matters can be contested, so anticipate issues from the alleged incapacitated person or other relatives or other interested people.

Why Power Of Attorney Is Important

The most convenient way to give another person the authority to make decisions for you is still using proper estate planning and drafting and execution of health care powers of attorney and durable financial powers of attorney. Living trusts can also be very helpful in allowing someone else the ability to take care of you if you become incapacitated. A guardianship or conservatorship can be avoided, and in many cases can be the option of last resort after a person has become incapacitated and if they did not prepare proper estate planning documentation. Estate planning has its limitations, and the need for a guardianship or conservatorship may not be clear. We can help.

The Experience You Need

Here, at Hopkins Law Firm, we focus on probate and estate planning legal services, which includes counsel and service for guardians, conservators, those thinking about helping someone who may be incapacitated and representation of a person who may be incapacitated. Because we have diverse experience we can provide help for guardians and conservators trying to deal with property and personal situations of their loved one. Please call with your questions or concerns or email us your questions. We are always available.

  • Not sure if your case requires legal help? A simple phone call to our office will determine whether you actually need a probate attorney. ​Call 843-314-4005 or ask a question via email.

If you would like help in estate administration or probate, please contact Ian A. Taylor at Hopkins Law Firm in Pawleys Island.

The resources in the Legal Learning Center are provided as an information resource only. The information provided is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship and shall not be construed as legal advice. Any information furnished here is only general and not substitute for personalized legal advice.