When someone seems to be having trouble providing for their physical and mental needs, managing their personal needs, managing their financial resources, resisting undue influence or fraud; this is the time when a family member or friend looks to ways that the person with those limitations can be helped.
A Conservatorship is a Probate court proceeding initiated by a petition that asks the court to appoint a conservator to make decisions for the conservatee and to serve in the conservatee’s best interest.
The conservator acts as a fiduciary and has a fiduciary duty towards the conservatee.
This process is overseen by the courts as the court retains jurisdiction and will conduct periodic reviews of the conservator’s actions and the condition of the conservatee. This process continues until the conservatee dies or the conservatorship is terminated.
The court can establish a conservatorship of the person or the estate or both. The conservator of the person manages the personal care of the conservatee who cannot provide for themselves in such needs as for physical health, medical care, food, clothing, and shelter.
The conservator of the estate manages the financial affairs of the conservative.
Establishing a conservatorship is generally considered for people with neurocognitive disorders, e.g., Alzheimer’s or dementia, or who otherwise lack or have lost the ability to care for themselves or appropriately manage their finances.
However, the probate code provides for conservatorships in several other situations, such as a voluntary conservatorship, a limited conservatorship, conservatorship of the
estate of an absentee, and a conservator of the estate of missing persons, just to name a few.
Conservatorships are highly specialized and should be handled by a competent law firm with experience in conservatorships.
Conservatorships are not the only method for management of a persons care and finances by another. When a person still retains capacity to consent there are alternatives that should be considered.
These alternate actions are evaluated and considered in order to find and implement less burdensome, costly, and time-consuming alternatives.
These alternatives are the use of Trusts, Durable Powers of Attorney and Advanced Health Care Directives. Copenbarger & Copenbarger will always evaluate these alternatives and design a plan that will accomplish the desired goals of the conservatee and their family.