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Guardians and Conservators Under Missouri Law

Missourians may have questions about who is responsible for taking care of relatives who are minors, elderly, or otherwise unable to care for themselves. Missouri law provides guidelines for finding an appropriate person to take care of another, as well as someone to take care of another's finances for them. Below you will find key information about guardians and conservators under Missouri law.

What are Guardians and Conservators?

A guardian is someone who takes care of a minor child or an adult who cannot take care of his or herself. They are usually appointed by a court. Conservators manage the property of minors or adults who cannot manage their property or finances. Sometimes conservators are banks, trusts, or corporations, while other times they can be individuals.

What Do Conservators and Guardians Have to Do?

Guardians must act in the best interest of the people they care for. For minors, the guardian has custody of the child, which means making important decisions for the child, including medical care and education. Guardians of adult wards must also make decisions for the adult's care, including their housing, medical treatment, and support.

Conservators have a fiduciary duty to put their protectee's financial interests before their own when managing their protectee's property. That duty includes investing and managing the assets for the protectee's benefit, and using those assets for their care and maintenance. In addition conservators must account for all income and expenditures made on behalf of the protectee.

When do Guardianships and Conservatorships End?

For minors, guardianship and conservatorship end when the minor reaches 18 years old, unless the ward also has an incapacity or disability that prevents them from taking care of themselves.

For adults with a disability or incapacity, the duties of conservators and guardians do not end until a court determines that the protectee or ward is competent, or passes away.

Statute Missouri Revised Statutes, Title XXXI, Section 475
Relevant Provisions
Who May Act as Guardian or Conservator

The following may be appointed guardian or conservator:

  • an adult person;
  • certain social service agencies; and
  • certain corporations and national banking associations.
Who May Not Act as Guardian or Conservator

Except where a family relationship exists the following parties may not be appointed guardian or conservator:

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Additional Resources

If you have additional questions about guardians and conservators under Missouri law, click on the links below for more information:

Get Professional Legal Help With Your Guardianship Questions

Missouri guardianship and conservatorship laws help protect the interests of those who can't look out for themselves. A lawyer can help you ensure that the right guardian is chosen if you or someone you love becomes incapacitated, or explain other issues relating to guardian and conservator situations. Contact a qualified local family law attorney to learn more about your options.

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