Guardianship (also commonly known as Conservatorship) / Incapacity
A guardianship or conservatorship is a crucial legal tool that allows one person or entity to make decisions for another (the ward). Courts are tasked with establishing guardianships, and they typically appoint guardians in instances of incapacity or disability. Suppose, for example, that a person is put into a coma from a car accident. Unless that person has a durable power of attorney and medical directives already in place before the accident, the court will appoint a guardian to make both financial and non-financial decisions for the comatose person.
This is important because investments, real estate, etc. can lose their value over time if left unmanaged. There are also bills to pay – a guardian should make sure that excessive liabilities do not accrue during the period of incapacity.
Financial exploitation occurs when a person misuses or takes the assets of a vulnerable adult for his/her own personal benefit. This frequently occurs without the explicit knowledge or consent of a senior or disabled adult, depriving him/her of vital financial resources for his/her personal needs.
Assets are commonly taken via forms of deception, false pretenses, coercion, harassment, duress and threats.