Guardianships and Conservatorships

A guardian is someone who has the legal authority to care for another, and a conservator is someone who manages another’s financial affairs. 

In order for a guardian and/or conservator to be appointed, an adult person must be deemed to be “incapacitated”, thereby meaning that he/she lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning oneself or finances.

The Probate court appoints guardians and conservators for these persons who, due to physical or mental disabilities, need assistance in making decisions about their daily lives.


Guardian and Conservator How-to Videos and Manuals

Post-Appointment Guardian Welfare Concerns

Who is a vulnerable adult?

Arizona law defines a “vulnerable adult” as “an individual who is eighteen years of age or older and who is unable to protect himself from abuse, neglect or exploitation by others because of a physical or mental impairment.”  A.R.S. § 14-451(A)(11).  An adult for whom the Court has appointed a guardian is, by definition, a “vulnerable adult.”  See id.  However, a person does not have to be under a guardianship to satisfy the definition of a “vulnerable adult.”

What may you do if you if you are concerned about the welfare of a vulnerable adult?

If you are concerned about the welfare of a vulnerable adult, you have many options.  Those options include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • If believe the welfare of a vulnerable adult is in immediate danger, you may call 9-1-1 and ask law enforcement or other emergency services to conduct a welfare check.
  • You may contact Adult Protective Services (“APS”) by calling 1-877-767-2385 (1-877-SOS-ADULT) or by filling out an online report at  If necessary, an APS worker may obtain a special visitation warrant to visit the vulnerable adult.  See A.R.S. §§ 14-5310.01 and -452(A).
  • Contact the Public Fiduciary for the county in which the vulnerable adult is present.  See A.R.S. § 14-5602(A).

In addition, if a guardian has been appointed for the vulnerable adult, you may file a petition that asks the Court either to terminate the guardianship or to appoint a different guardian for the vulnerable adult.  See A.R.S. § 14-5307.