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Spendthrift Guardian

Spendthrift Guardian - Departments & Programs, UW Medical Foundation, Patient Resources, Social Work Services Quick Guide, Social Work Manual, Legal, Guardianship


Longtime readers of this newsletter have seen much ink expended on issues related to guardianships of the estate and of the person, and powers of attorney (health care and financial). When was the last time you saw an article on SPENDTHRIFTS?

Sounds like a description of your spending habits? Well, you might be pleased to know that you could have a person appointed your guardian! Under sec. 880.01(9), Stats., a "spendthrift" means "a person who because of the use of intoxicants or drugs or of gambling, idleness or debauchery or other wasteful course of conduct is unable to attend to business or thereby is likely to affect the health, life or property of the person or others so as to endanger the support of the person and the person's dependents or expose the public to such support."

Application for a guardian of such a person is made in the same way application is made for a guardianship of the estate, with one important exception: there is no requirement that the spendthrift be incompetent. In other words a fully competent person, who just can't handle money, can have his or her very own guardian appointed to pay his or her bills. The duties of such a guardian are those of a guardian of the estate.

How does this differ from a conservatorship? The only difference seems to be that a conservatorship is requested by the competent person, and a spendthrift guardianship can be imposed involuntarily. Otherwise, the conservator and spendthrift guardian act just like guardians of the estate.

From the CWAG Guardianship Newsletter, Third Quarter 2001