THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GUARDIANSHIP AND A CONSERVATORSHIP

Michigan residents may have often heard references to guardianships and conservatorships and assume that they are similar or even the same. That is actually not so. While both a guardianship and a conservatorship can protect the health and welfare of an incapacitated adult or child, each focuses on specific rights and responsibilities. Understanding the difference between the two is important before seeking one or the other.

The Institute of Continuing Legal Education website indicates that a conservatorship pertains specifically to financial and asset management. It is not related to any care needs of the minor or adult. A conservator may make decisions on behalf of the ward for issues related to real estate, bank accounts, stocks or other investments, insurance policies and the like. This person must adhere to standards similar to that of a trustee.

AccessKent.com explains that most forms of guardianship provide actual care for a disabled child, an incapacitated adult or other person in need of care but unable to care for themselves. A guardian at litem is slightly different insofar as this is set up in order to provide legal representation for another party. Guardianships that intend to set up direct care of another party can be created for a minor or an adult. They can be implemented to cover emergency or temporary situations or designed to be permanent. A guardianship can also dictate very specific power that will be allowed instead of offering full control.

There can be many reasons that lead someone to pursue a guardianship or a conservatorship. Knowing what each of these can do up front will help to make the process easier.

ORGANIZING INFORMATION FOR A DIVORCE

The divorce process can often feel cumbersome for couples in Michigan. There are many logistics to work through, especially during a property division, and information that must be provided. This is the case whether a settlement is achieved via litigation or through the less-adversarial collaborative divorce approach. Before embarking upon a divorce or at the very beginning of the process, it can be helpful to know what types of data will be required and work to get it together up front.

For starters, collecting all information that provides details about the income of both spouses is important. This can include pay stubs, W-2s, 1099s or tax returns. The exact documentation required can vary based upon self-employment and other factors. Itemization of expenses, especially those related to any children will be required such as costs for tuition, childcare and extracurricular activities. Gathering information for the cost of health insurance and any other out-of-pocket medical expenses should be part of the preparation process.

From there, couples should be able to offer details about all assets and debts. The valuation of any retirement plans or other investments needs to be available. For homes or other real estate owned by a couple, tax statements and mortgage statements are among the basic information that will be requested. Whether or not down payment amounts were funded by separate or marital property will also come into play during the settlement process.

The lawyers at Quist Law Firm PLLC have extensive experience with divorce preparation and settlements and understand what information people must provide during the process.

WHAT TYPES OF GUARDIANSHIPS FOR MINORS DOES MICHIGAN LAW PROVIDE?

A legal guardianship can protect the health and welfare of a minor when parents are unable to do so for various reasons. The State of Michigan’s published Child Welfare Law document outlines the different types of guardianships for minor children. Understanding some of the parameters of these different forms of guardianships is important for anyone looking to help a child or children in this way.

Many people commonly assume that when a person has guardianship of a child, the parental rights have been terminated. That is not necessarily so in all cases. A limited guardianship, for example, simply suspends parental rights. It also requires the consent of the parent or parents. In a limited guardianship, a placement plan is created that outlines the rights and responsibilities of the guardian and the parent. This includes visitation time, financial arrangements and more.

A general guardianship is more broad-reaching and can be granted when parental rights have been terminated. It can be obtained without the consent of the parent or parents of the children involved. Parents, relatives, friends and even personnel from the state Department of Human Services can petition for a general guardianship. Child support and parenting time can be part of these situations.

Probate courts can provide temporary guardianship for periods of up to six months. A child in need of urgent healthcare could be reason for this form of guardianship to be established. This information is not intended to provide legal advice but general information about the types of guardianships available for minors under Michigan law.