Guardianship vs. Conservatorship

Guardianship and a Conservatorship are often confused with one and other.  These terms are adult-guardianvery similar and both pertain to an individual being appointed to help assist someone else with something they cannot manage for themselves.  The difference between the two boils down to one word: competency.


A Guardian is any person, association, or corporation appointed to be responsible for the care and management of an incompetent or minor, their estate, or both.  The appointed guardian must then account to the probate court to ensure they are providing proper care and management of the incompetent minor’s affairs.  There are multiple types of Guardians.  The two most common are Guardianship of the Estate –  the Guardian has the authority to make all financial decisions for the incompetent minor & Guardianship of the Person – the Guardian has the authority to make day-to-day decisions in regards to personal issues such as food and living arrangements.  Guardian of the Person and Guardian of the Estate can be served by the same person, or if circumstances dictate, one individual can serve as Guardian of the Person while another serves as Guardian of the Estate.


A Conservatorship is when a mentally competent adult, who is physically disabled, mentally limited, or sick and can no longer care for themselves or their finances, asks the court to appoint someone to take care of those things for them.

One major difference between Guardianships and Conservatorships is that the relationship between a mentally competent adult and their Conservator can be terminated at any time.  Guardianships cannot be terminated by the incompetent minor.  Guardianships can only terminate at death, adulthood in the case of a minor, or upon the court determining the minor to be competent.


About Oakstone Law, PL

Oakstone Law PL was founded by Bob Kleinknecht. A member of the Florida Family Trust Company Subcommittee, the Estate Tax & Trust Planning (ETTP) Committee and the Real Property, Probate & Trust Law (RPPTL) Section of the Florida Bar, Kleinknecht has 15 years’ experience.

Prior to founding Oakstone law, he spent more than eight years serving as a personal, in-house estate, tax and charitable planning attorney for a Forbes 400 family in New York and Florida. Before that he was an estate planning and estate settlement attorney with prominent firms in Boston and Washington, D.C. after beginning his career with a boutique firm in Naples, Florida.

Licensed in Florida and Massachusetts, Kleinknecht has developed a practice model that eliminates billing by the hour and offers a streamlined, customized client process supported by technology, security and a personal approach.

For more information on Oakstone Law, click here. To get in touch with us, click here to send us an email, or call 239-206-3454. Our office is located at 5137 Castello Drive, Suite 2 in Naples, Florida 34103.

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Oakstone Law
1415 Panther Lane, Suite 439
Naples, Florida 34109
Tel: 239.206.3454