Serving as a Guardian or Conservator is a legal and moral responsibility, so it is important to fulfill these duties properly.
So you've been through the process of being appointed a legal Guardian and/or Conservator. What do you do next? Well, depending on the circumstances of the incapacitated person, and the scope of your authority granted by the court, your duties may be extensive or minimal.
The Probate and Family Court's current policy is to limit the scope of Guardianships and Conservatorships, and thus preserve the autonomy of the protected person. But despite this noble goal, many Guardianship/Conservatorship Orders remain broad in scope, and even limited appointments can be difficult to interpret and apply. For these reasons, it is important that Guardians and Conservators seek the advice of counsel to ensure that they are carrying out their duties properly.
Specific examples of situations that may require legal advice include: changing the person's place of residence, placing a person in a nursing home, applying for public benefits (SSI, MassHealth, housing, etc.), authorizing extraordinary medical treatment (anti-psychotic medications, authorizing or withdrawing life support, etc.), and complex estate planning (creating trusts, making gifts, etc.).