1. What is Conservatorship?
Conservatorship is a legal arrangement in which a court appoints someone to manage the financial affairs of another person who is unable to do so. The conservator is typically a family member, friend, or professional fiduciary who is willing to take on the responsibility.
A conservatee is usually an elderly person or someone with a disability who has been determined by the court to be unable to manage his or her own finances. The conservatorship may be limited to certain areas of financial decision-making, or it may give the conservator complete control over the conservatee’s finances.
The court will appoint a conservator only if it finds that the conservatee is unable to manage his or her own finances and that appointing a conservator is in the conservatee’s best interests.
A conservatorship is a serious matter and should be considered only as a last resort. It is important to understand that a conservatorship can be very costly and time-consuming, and it should be used only when absolutely necessary.
If you are concerned that a loved one may be unable to manage his or her finances, you should talk to a lawyer to find out if a conservatorship is the right option.
2. The Different Types of Conservatorship
Conservatorship is a legal arrangement whereby a court appoints an individual, known as a conservator, to manage the financial affairs and/or daily life of another person, known as the conservatee. The conservatee may be a child, an elderly person, or an individual with developmental disabilities or mental illness. The conservator is typically a family member, friend, or professional fiduciary.
There are two main types of conservatorship: (1) limited conservatorship and (2) general conservatorship.
1. Limited Conservatorship
A limited conservatorship is appropriate when the conservatee has some ability to manage his or her own affairs, but is unable to do so in one or more specific areas. The court will appoint a conservator to oversee the conservatee’s finances and/or personal care in those specific areas. For example, a conservatee who is unable to manage his or her own finances may be placed under a limited conservatorship wherein a conservator is appointed to handle the conservatee’s finances, but the conservatee retains the ability to make his or her own decisions regarding personal care, such as where to live, what medical treatment to receive, etc.
2. General Conservatorship
A general conservatorship is appropriate when the conservatee is unable to manage any aspect of his or her own affairs. In a general conservatorship, the conservator is appointed to oversee all aspects of the conservatee’s life, including finances, personal care, and living arrangements. The conservatee is typically unable to make any decisions regarding his or her own care and must rely on the conservator to make all decisions on his or her behalf.
A general conservatorship is a more restrictive arrangement than a limited conservatorship and is typically only used when the conservatee is unable to function independently in any way.
3. Appointing a Conservator
When a person is unable to take care of their own financial or personal affairs, the court may appoint a conservator. A conservator is a person who is legally responsible for another person, known as the conservatee. The conservator has the authority to make decisions on behalf of the conservatee and is typically someone who is close to the conservatee, such as a family member.
There are two types of conservatorships:
1. Limited conservatorship: This type of conservatorship is used when the conservatee is unable to take care of their own finances, but is still able to take care of their personal needs, such as eating and dressing.
2. General conservatorship: This type of conservatorship is used when the conservatee is unable to take care of both their finances and their personal needs.
The process of appointing a conservator typically starts with a family member or friend of the conservatee filing a petition with the court. A hearing is then held, at which the conservatee has the opportunity to object to the appointment of a conservator. If the conservatee does not object, or if the court finds that the conservatee is unable to take care of their own affairs, the conservator will be appointed.
The conservator has a legal responsibility to the conservatee and must act in the best interests of the conservatee. The conservator is required to keep records of all financial transactions made on behalf of the conservatee and must submit a report to the court on a regular basis. The conservator can be removed from their position by the court if they are not fulfilling their duties, or if the conservatee no longer needs a conservator.
4. Duties of a Conservator
A conservator is a legal guardian appointed by a court to manage the financial affairs and/or daily life of another person, known as the conservatee. The conservator has a fiduciary relationship with the conservatee, meaning that the conservator must always act in the best interests of the conservatee.
There are four primary duties of a conservator:
1. to manage the conservatee’s finances;
2. to make decisions about the conservatee’s living arrangements;
3. to oversee the conservatee’s medical care; and
4. to advocate on the conservatee’s behalf.
1. Managing the Conservatee’s Finances
The conservator is responsible for managing the conservatee’s finances, including paying bills, filing taxes, and investing the conservatee’s money. The conservator must keep meticulous records of all financial transactions and must report to the court on a regular basis.
2. Making Decisions about the Conservatee’s Living Arrangements
The conservator is responsible for making decisions about the conservatee’s living arrangements, including where the conservatee will live and who will provide care. The conservator must ensure that the conservatee’s living arrangements are safe and appropriate.
3. Overseeing the Conservatee’s Medical Care
The conservator is responsible for overseeing the conservatee’s medical care, including making decisions about medical treatment and managing the conservatee’s medications. The conservator must ensure that the conservatee receives the medical care that he or she needs.
4. Advocating on the Conservatee’s Behalf
The conservator is responsible for advocating on the conservatee’s behalf, including communicating with family members, service providers, and government agencies. The conservator must ensure that the conservatee’s rights are protected and that his or her best interests are always kept in mind.
5. Reasons for Conservatorship
When someone can no longer take care of their own finances or medical decisions, a conservatorship may be necessary. A conservatorship is a legal arrangement in which someone else is appointed by the court to manage the affairs of someone who can no longer do so. A conservatorship can be temporary or permanent, and it can be limited to only certain areas of a person’s life, such as their finances, or it can be all-encompassing.
There are many reasons why a conservatorship may be necessary. Here are five of the most common:
1. The person is no longer able to make decisions for themselves. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or a stroke.
2. The person has become a victim of financial exploitation. This can happen to anyone, but it is especially common among the elderly.
3. The person is suffering from addiction and is no longer able to make sound decisions.
4. The person has a mental illness and is not able to take care of themselves.
5. The person is developmentally disabled and is not able to take care of themselves.
6. Termination of Conservatorship
The conservatorship of a minor child terminates when the child reaches the age of majority, which is 18 in most states. The conservatorship may also be terminated sooner if the child becomes emancipated, marries, or joins the military. If the child is still attending high school when they turn 18, the conservatorship may be extended until they graduate or turn 19, whichever comes first.
Once the conservatorship has been terminated, the conservator no longer has any legal authority over the child. The child is now free to make their own decisions, and the conservator is no longer responsible for their welfare. If the child is still a minor, the parents will once again be responsible for their care and support.