Guardianship and Conservatorship

Few people regard guardianship as a wholly satisfactory approach to securing the care of an incapacitated relative, but as a last resort, it’s a valuable tool for protecting the personal and financial security of a loved one who can no longer look after his or her own interests effectively. The Salt Lake City guardianship attorneys at Alder Law Group, P.C., advise people about guardianship, conservatorship, special needs trusts and other ways to protect vulnerable relatives.

We understand the range of circumstances that can lead a family to think about guardianship as a way to protect a relative who needs help with finances or daily living needs. Our lawyers will discuss guardianship and its alternatives with you and other concerned relatives, and if no less intrusive approach appears available, we can represent you in Utah probate proceedings to appoint you or someone else to take responsibility for a relative’s financial matters, personal care or both.


Utah law recognizes conservatorship as a less intensive form of supervision over another person. By definition, a conservatorship applies only to the property and finances of the ward, or the person over whom a guardian or conservator is appointed. In some situations, we will recommend conservatorship as an alternative that allows greater independence for the person to be protected.

Occasionally a nursing home or assisted living facility will consider a guardianship petition, or even insist upon one for a relative whose capacity for independent living is significantly impaired. We can advise you about the implications of a guardianship petition in your situation, and recommend measures to prevent overreaching or abuses in the guardian-ward relationship.

Our lawyers also advise guardians and conservators about the best ways to fulfill their responsibilities, which include annual reports and periodic accountings. Guardians and conservators are fiduciaries in the eyes of the law, which means that their decisions must be made in the best interests of the person for whom they’re acting.

We also advise people about advance planning to avoid the need for guardianship through powers of attorney, incapacity trustee designations under revocable living trusts, and special needs trusts for developmentally disabled children and adults.