Nutley, New Jersey estate planning and probate attorney, Brad Micklin, discusses the difference between guardianship, conservatorship and power of attorney.
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The difference between a guardianship, conservatorship, and power of attorney is they’re all different levels of severity, for lack of better words. They all handle appointing somebody to handle decisions for a person that may be incapacitated. A guardianship is a court appointed requirement that somebody make all financial and personal decisions for an individual. A conservatorship is a form of guardianship being court appointed also but it’s less intrusive. So the individual that’s believed to be incapacitated still retains certain rights like to marry and to make votes. And a power of attorney is the least intrusive it’s really just an agreement between the alleged incompetent person or incapacitated individual and somebody that they know they’re asking for them to have the power to act as their financial manager, to make decisions and all the financial issues they would on their own. But the power of attorney has no legal compulsion to do it where the guardianship and the conservatorships do.