Sometimes a person becomes disabled, either physically or mentally, and needs the assistance of a trusted family member or friend. Guardianship, which permits the guardian to make decisions about the physical care and well-being of the ward (the disabled person) is sought in probate court. A conservator may be needed to manage the finances of the disabled person.
There are also guardianships for children whose parents are unable to care for them based on any number of reasons. Often a guardian of a minor will need to request appointment as a conservator from the probate judge as well. Guardianship of a minor child is similar, but not the same, as custody. A guardian and a conservator must make periodic accountings to the probate judge, who oversees the well-being of the disabled person or the child ward.