Will a guardianship protect an elderly parent from scammers?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2024 | Guardianship and Conservatorship |

It’s a heartbreaking story we see too often on the news: a scammer has conned an older adult out of their life savings. Our hearts ache for the victim, and we are outraged that these con artists are rarely caught.

As we watch our parents age, we begin to worry that they may become targets for unethical people. We don’t want them to lose their sense of autonomy, but we also realize they may need protection.

Guardianship vs. conservatorship

There are different options for managing the affairs of another person who can not do so due to incapacitation (known as the “ward”). Guardianship and conservatorship are both court-appointed roles but with different roles.

In a conservatorship, the conservator manages the ward’s financial matters, including property and assets. Guardianship of the person means the guardian can make decisions about the ward’s personal and medical care. A full guardianship covers both personal and financial decisions.

Both conservatorship and full guardianship can help protect an elderly parent from scammers. With the control granted to court-appointed individuals, they have the authority to monitor bank accounts, handle investments, pay bills and prevent unauthorized access to funds.

Scammers often prey on the elderly by convincing them to make hasty or uninformed decisions. A guardian’s or conservator’s involvement can act as a buffer, requiring that significant decisions receive approval from someone with their best interests at heart.

As an added layer of protection, guardians and conservators are typically required to provide regular reports to the court on the ward’s well-being and financial status. This accountability helps ensure that their affairs are being managed properly.

Establishing guardianship or conservatorship is a complex legal process that requires proving the older person’s incapacity in court. This can be time-consuming, emotionally challenging and potentially contentious among family members.

Before starting the process, it’s best to seek experienced legal guidance to find the best approach for ensuring a loved one’s financial security without compromising their independence.


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