If a Colorado court appoints you as a guardian, it grants you the legal authority to make decisions about the health and welfare of another person, i.e., your ward. Your ward may be either a minor child or an adult who lacks the capacity to make decisions on his or her own behalf.
A guardian is different from a conservator, whose responsibility is to manage and protect a protected person’s assets. However, the court may appoint you as both the guardian and the conservator. Sometimes there is no need for a conservator because there are not enough assets to warrant such an appointment. In this situation, the court may give you the authority to manage your ward’s assets as part of your guardianship duties.
According to the Colorado Bar Association, the court needs a thorough description of your ward’s situation. These include financial resources, growth, health needs and general wellbeing. You must provide this information to the court at the start of your guardianship in an initial care plan.
Over time, the court will need to know about any changes to your ward’s situation to determine whether it is necessary that the guardianship continue. You provide this information in an annual report that you must give on a regular basis for the duration of your guardianship.
Your responsibilities as a ward include granting or withholding consent for medical care, choosing an appropriate living situation and signing legal documents on his or her behalf. You must exercise care and prudence in making decisions about your ward‘s health, welfare and education. Avoid any transactions that could present a conflict of interest because you must act with undivided loyalty make decisions in his or her interest.
If you have not already become personally acquainted with your ward, you have an obligation to do so. This allows you to take his or her personal values and reasonable desires into consideration when making decisions on his or her behalf. You must encourage self-sufficiency in your ward by making efforts to include him or her in all decisions.