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Guardianship & Conservatorship


What is Guardianship?

A guardian is someone who is appointed by a court to protect and care for the health and well-being of an incapacitated person, or a minor child. A petition must be filed with the appropriate court, and notice given to all interested persons. The process may be complicated, so you are advised to consult with an attorney.

What is Conservatorship?

A conservator is a fiduciary who is appointed by a court to protect and conserve the assets of an incapacitated person, or a minor child. The process is similar to the appointment of a guardian.

Frequently Asked Questions

Anyone who is interested in the welfare of the incapacitated person or child may be appointed as guardian and/or conservator. Prospective guardians and/or conservators must tell the court whether or not they have been convicted of a crime, have filed for or received protection under the bankruptcy laws, or have had a license revoked or canceled that was required by the laws of any state for the practice of a profession or occupation.​ Prospective guardians must also sign a consent stating that they are willing to serve.

A guardianship or conservatorship case should be filed in the county where the incapacitated person or minor child resides or is present. A​ conservatorship case may also be filed in the county where property of the incapacitated person is located, but only if the person does not live in this state and is not present in this state.​​

A Court Visitor must be appointed in adult guardianships, and may be appointed in conservatorships and minor guardianships. The Visitor is someone who has training or expertise to evaluate the case. The Visitor makes recommendations to the court regarding the capacity of the respondent, and whether the proposed guardian is appropriate.

In 2021 the Oregon Legislature created a new type of guardianship intended to protect immigrant youths present in Oregon who are between 18 and 21 years old who cannot be reunited with their parents due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.  These guardianships allow the youths to qualify for Special Immigrant Status while ensuring that they are safe in their new stable environment.​

Guardianships and conservatorships can be complicated. Handling them often requires knowledge about many different rules and laws. It is always best to have a lawyer. And if you don’t have an attorney, it is still always a good idea to consult with one for advice. Court staff are not allowed to give legal advice. If you have any questions about your rights or responsibilities, only an attorney can help.​

The Courts provide a very limited number of forms. There are no statewide forms available for most guardianship or conservatorship actions. However, some Circuit Courts may offer minor guardianship forms, but they are not required to do so. Y​ou should consult with a lawyer whenever you are considering filing a guardianship or conservatorship case. You may find other resources on the website of the Oregon State Bar listed at the end of this document.​​

Several people must be personally “served” (given the legal papers in person) in a guardianship case involving a minor. These include the child’s parents and, if the child is 14 or older, the child as well. Depending on the case, you may need to serve other individuals, too. The Petition, notice, and a blank objection form must be served. Service must be done by someone who is not a party to the case, is at least 18 years old, and lives in the same state as the person being served. The person who serves the papers must sign a statement under oath saying when, where, and to whom they gave the documents. If notice is incorrectly done or not all people entitled to notice are served, your appointment as guardian will likely be denied.​

Oregon law requires that both parents of a minor child be served before the court can grant the guardianship.​​

Working Interdisciplinary Network of Guardian Stakeholders (WINGS)
  • ​Information on guardianships, conservatorships, and less restrictive decision-making options in Oregon.
Oregon State Bar

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