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Responsibilities of an Arizona guardian or conservator

Previous posts on this blog have discussed how a court in Arizona goes about choosing a guardian or conservator when a child or an adult suffering an incapacity has a need for such a person in their lives. This choice is an important one, especially since guardianships and conservatorships give a lot of power to one person, including power to oversee a great deal of property and even to make basic life decisions for the person being protected.

Because a guardian has basically the same powers a parent would have over his or her child, even if the protected person, or ward is an adult, the guardian has a strict responsibility to act in the ward's best interests at all times.

Moreover, the guardian has some obligation to make sure the ward, if an adult, has as much independence as possible, as the ward must be in the "least restrictive" environment necessary to protect the ward. The guardian also has to give a status report annually to the court overseeing the guardianship, and this report needs to provide information from the ward's doctor.

A conservator, being in charge of a person's property, has to keep an accurate account of what he or she has done with respect to the property over which he or she has management powers. Additionally, a conservator will basically be held to the same standards as would the trustee of a trust, meaning he or she can be help personally responsible for imprudent or irresponsible use of the protected person's funds, even if there was no intention to be deceitful or fraudulent. The conservator also has a duty to make an annual status report documenting his or her activities.

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