Alternatives to Guardianship and/or Conservatorship

The law requires that least restrictive measures have been looked at before the court will appoint a Guardian and/or Conservator. This is because guardianship and/or conservatorship is intrusive and a person will lose many rights, such as the right to drive or own a vehicle, the right to vote, to choose where to live, consent to medical treatment, make decisions about their money, and more.

The Maricopa County Public Fiduciary will always look for alternatives to guardianship and/or conservatorship before choosing a legal appointment to end your civil rights. Seeking alternatives is the most effective way to use resources within the community and to make sure that a person’s autonomy is protected. A person who appears to have a lack of capacity and decision-making skills does not always need a Guardian and/or Conservator to oversee their care and services. There are many alternatives to guardianship and/or conservatorship that are an effective form of help.

Here is a list of some of the many resources that should always be used before seeking a guardianship and/or conservatorship:

  • Surrogate Decision Maker - see A.R.S. 36-3231 (https://www.azleg.gov/ars/36/03231.htm) 
  • Power of Attorney
  • Advanced Directive/Living Will
  • Court Order for Treatment
  • Office of Human Rights
  • Supportive Services through Medicaid/ Arizona Long Term Care
  • Supportive Services through Area Agency on Aging
  • Case Management Services
  • A Representative Payee
  • Special Needs Trust or other designated Trusts


There are also additional community programs such as:  

  • Day Treatment and Adult Day Healthcare
  • Maricopa County Senior Adult Independent Living program
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Subsidized individual or group housing
  • Community and/or church supports