Power of Attorney vs Conservatorship [In Depth Guide]

Power of Attorney vs Conservatorship

A power of attorney or conservatorship is a legal document that grants a person the authority to manage another person’s finances or healthcare choices. The person with legal power may fulfill activities including paying bills, maintaining the property, and determining end-of-life care by acting on their behalf. Both are used to assist mentally incompetent individuals who cannot make smart decisions for them.

As for the power of attorney vs conservatorship debate, both are used for the same purpose. Due to this many individuals struggle to distinguish between the two. However, there are distinct distinctions that you must be aware of. This page provides the entire legal definitions of both forms of legal papers.

We provide a clear comparison between conservatorship and power of attorney to assist you in determining which is appropriate for your specific circumstances even the critical difference between the Guardianship vs conservatorship vs power of attorney is unquestionably the circumstances under which each is established.

Key Difference Simplified

  • Power of attorney: The power to represent someone in a particular or all financial and legal problems.
  • Conservatorship:  A court will appoint a conservator to oversee the personal and economic affairs of a child or an incapable adult.


Power of AttorneyConservatorship
Authority of Attorney is a legal instrument that permits and authorizes another person to act on behalf of the people granting the power. If the person who established a power of attorney (the "principal") seems unable to act, their agent may step in and conduct transactions on their behalf.A conservatorship is a formal relationship constituted by a court order. To obtain a conservatorship over another individual, you must submit a formal court action. Contrary to the convenience of drafting power of attorney, conservatorship involves several stages.
For instance, a power of attorney might empower someone to handle a person's money or make medical choices if the principal is hospitalized. Considering these considerations, it is crucial to comprehend that the chosen agent may only operate within the authority granted by a power of attorney.In contrast, a person's conservatorship permits the conservator to make a medical power of attorney vs conservatorship. The conservator is obligated to produce yearly reports well with the court about the status and finances of the conservatee.

Differences in Responsibility

Power of Attorney vs Conservatorship duties

Power of Attorney Duties

  • A person forms power of attorney before becoming disabled.
  • A person should have the mental ability to sign a legal instrument with full comprehension and purpose to execute a Power of Attorney.
  • Other parties may have greater standing to dispute a power of attorney since it is more of a private matter than a conservatorship, which the court closely monitors.

Conservatorship Duties

  • A conservatorship is established when a system can no longer make important financial choices independently.
  • If they lack this ability, you will need to petition for conservatorship to manage their financial and personal affairs.
  • A conservatorship happens in a more public environment and is subject to judicial oversight from the outside.

Average Cost of a Will and Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney vs Conservatorship cost

Individuals need to consult with a lawyer to examine their power of attorney needs. A few hundred dollars should cover signing once he/she has consented to the paperwork; this may rise if additional meetings are necessary, unexpected estate difficulties or requests are expressed, or a family quarrel has to be resolved before signing.

Guardianship and conservatorship would most likely cost ten times as much and will need ongoing legal intervention since future accountings and reports must be made and submitted.

Don’t Miss Power of Attorney vs Guardianship

Does conservatorship supersede a power of attorney?

A conservatorship overcomes a power of attorney, while a POA removes the necessity for a conservatorship. The court will assess the POA while selecting a conservator so that the two arrangements may coexist.

Does conservatorship cease upon death?

A conservatorship endures until ended by the conservatee’s death or through a court order. So when the conservatee dies, the conservatorship dissolves as a matter of law. Therefore, this does not imply that the conservator would not have any control over the conservatee’s assets once they die.

Check Out Power of Attorney vs Executor

What happens if the conservator dies in California?

1860(a) of the California Probate Code states, “A conservatorship continues until the conservatee’s death or a court order”. Consequently, a conservatorship ends automatically upon the conservatee’s death. So here are the details for power of attorney vs conservatorship California.

What function does a conservatorship serve?

Power of Attorney vs Conservatorship function

A conservatorship is a legal proceeding in which a judge selects a responsible individual or organization (the “conservator”) to care for an adult or minor who cannot care about themselves or handle their finances.

What differentiates a conservator from a limited conservator?

The objective of a restricted conservatorship is to enable the person to preserve as much independence as possible. In contrast, a general conservatorship entails a broad scope of duty for the conservator.


There are numerous parallels between a durable power of attorney vs conservatorship: both provide a family member or another individual the ability to make health and financial choices. There are, however, significant distinctions between a power of attorney vs conservatorship, which are addressed in this text. It should help you evaluate which one of these legal papers is most appropriate for your situation.

E.A. Gjelten
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