Guardianships

"Am I my brother's keeper?" - Cain.

Under Alabama law, as in other states, a guardianship is a Probate proceeding in which a guardian is appointed in control of the life and activities of an incapacitated person. Whereas a conservatorship involves management of the ward's financial affairs, the guardianship involves management of the ward's personal life and may include such steps as placing the ward into nursing care, approving hospitalization or surgery and other important life decisions and processes.

Before granting a guardianship, the Probate Court will always closely inquire as to whether the ward is, in fact, incapacitated and also as to the fitness and appropriateness and capability of the proposed guardian. The Probate Court will always require a periodic report from the guardian as to the status of the ward and the management of the ward's life. While many incapacitated individuals need both a guardian and a conservator, there are instances in which one, but not both of the proceedings is necessary.