Understanding the Difference Between Conservatorship & Power of Attorney

Woman pondering difference between conservatorship vs. power of attorney

Knowing the difference between conservatorship vs. power of attorney can be confusing. But understanding them is essential if you want to make sure your finances are taken care of and your medical decisions are respected. This guide will explain the key differences between these legal arrangements and when each might be appropriate.

The Short Answer to What Is Conservatorship vs. Power of Attorney:

A conservatorship is created by a court. A power of attorney is a private arrangement created by a document. Because conservatorships are created by courts, they are more expensive, more time-consuming, harder to change, and public. In contrast, a power of attorney is cheaper, quicker, easier to change (unless the person lacks mental capacity), and private.

Each State Has Its Own Definition of Conservatorship.

Each state has its own definition of a conservatorship. Generally speaking, a conservatorship is a court-ordered arrangement in which an individual or organization — known as a conservator – is made responsible for taking care of the financial and/or personal affairs, as well as any medical decisions on behalf of another person, usually due to incapacity or mental illness. This arrangement is remains in place until the court orders otherwise.

The following is a link to a chart showing what “Conservatorship” means in the different states. 


Founding attorney Paul Deloughery has been an attorney since 1998, became a Certified Family Wealth Advisor. He is also the founder of Sudden Wealth Protection Law.



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