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What is the Difference Between a Conservator and Guardian?

What is the difference between a conservator and a guardian? Probate lawyer, Brynne Gant, explains the difference.

In Colorado, a person may petition a court to appoint a Conservator and/or Guardian for a person who cannot manage their own finances or health. The person who needs help is called a Protected Party or Ward. This might be, for instance, a young child with no parents, a disabled adult, or an elderly person suffering from neurocognitive deficits. 

A Conservator is someone appointed to help manage the Protected Party’s finances, while a Guardian is someone appointed to ensure the Protected Party’s health and wellbeing are being managed appropriately.

Conservators can be appointed on an emergency basis (called a Special Conservatorship), to handle one or a limited number of transactions, or on a regular/ongoing basis. 

Guardians can be apppointed on an emergency basis (called an Emergency Guardianship), to handle a single issue or limited number of issues, or on a regular/ongoing basis. 

Conservators and Guardians may also have limitations, such as only being allowed to manage a certain bank account or to decide housing for the Protected Party, per the court’s discretion.

If you or a loved one are in need of a Conservator or Guardian, we would love to help guide you through that process. Please feel free to contact us. You may also find it helpful to review the court’s self-help manuals and resources found here: