The term conservatorship is synonymous with elderly guardian but used mostly in the western United States. It is a court-appointed process that can be very expensive as the petitioners and proposed conservatee all must be represented by attorneys, with just a few exceptions for in pro per family members without objections. The reason for the expense is that the proposed conservatee's estate is expected to bear the burden of the court costs in the procedures to appoint.

However, there are numerous reasons to consider a conservatorship over a power of attorney (POA). For example, suppose there is no power of attorney in place and the person lacks capacity to understand what signing said document does to their personal freedoms and liberties. Perhaps there is feuding within the family about how a person should continue living, be it with Alzheimer's or a brain trauma injury and the feuding has left mom or dad with a means to care for them.


When such a person lacks capacity, the presiding county court will appoint a licensed fiduciary if no family member can or will serve to ensure the person’s well being is maintained and their estate managed prudently. Once appointed the court expects reports for the case management of health and odd-numbered accounting reports to the court to ensure the least-restrictive method is being provided to the conservatee. All non-family conservatorships require bonding, which is paid for from the conservatee's estate.