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What is a Conservator and Why Do I Need One?

A conservator is a guardian and protector appointed by a judge to manage the financial affairs and/or daily life of another due to physical or mental limitations, or old age. The conservator may be only of the “estate” (financial affairs), but may be also of the “person,” wherein he/she takes charge of overseeing the daily activities, such as health care or living arrangements of the conservatee.

What is a Conservatorship and How Does it Work?

A Conservatorship is a court monitored process where a Conservator is appointed by the judge to handle a Protected Person’s business and financial affairs.  A Conservator manages investments, assets, annuities, taxes and monthly bills. A Conservator strives to help keep the Protected Person remain independent as possible while mitigating any possible exploitation.  If the Conservator does find signs of exploitation, a forensic accounting will take place. Forensic accounting is when the Conservator is able to retroactively track exploitation of a Protected Person.

When is a Conservator Needed?

A Conservator is appointed when a person is deemed incapacitated or unable to handle their own financial affairs due to a variety of reasons including mental and physical disorders or being a minor. The Conservator can handle all aspects of an incapacitated person’s finances and decision making, from paying bills and investing assets properly to house sales and health insurance. It is the Conservator’s goal to maintain the least restrictive environment for the person, while maintaining their safety and avoiding exploitation from those directly around them. Conservators are subject to the court’s supervision and are required to submit annual reports of the incapacitated person’s assets, providing an additional layer of protection for the person’s finances.

Why would I hire a Conservator?

A Conservator is appointed when an individual is deemed incapable of handling their own finances.

How do I hire a Conservator?

Most conservators are court-appointed out of necessity when an incapacitated individual has no one to take on the responsibility of managing their finances. The first step is to find an attorney, preferably one familiar with probate, to submit a request or petition to the Court to instate a professional conservator. There will need to be adequate evidence that the incapacitated individual is unable to effectively manage their finances or that the individual is being exploited or at risk for exploitation. Once a petition has been submitted, the Court will set a hearing to review the case and determine whether a conservator is necessary. If the Court finds sufficient evidence that the incapacitated individual is at risk for misusing funds or potential exploitation, a conservator will formally be appointed to handle the case.

What is the difference between a Conservator and Guardian?

A conservator handles the decisions regarding the incapacitated person’s finances and physical property. A guardian handles the decisions regarding an incapacitated person’s health and personal care.