What Is Conservatorship?

Introduction

Conservatorship, also known as guardianship, is a legal arrangement where a person is appointed by the court to manage the affairs of another person who is unable to do so themselves. Conservatorship is most commonly used to manage the affairs of individuals who are elderly, disabled, or mentally incapacitated.

Types of Conservatorship

There are two types of conservatorship: conservatorship of the person and conservatorship of the estate.

Conservatorship of the person is when the court appoints a conservator to manage the personal and medical affairs of the protected person. This includes making medical decisions, managing living arrangements, and making decisions regarding education and rehabilitation.

Conservatorship of the estate is when the court appoints a conservator to manage the financial affairs of the protected person. This includes managing investments, paying bills, and making financial decisions.

Who Needs Conservatorship?

Conservatorship is typically used when individuals are unable to manage their own affairs due to physical or mental incapacity. This may be due to age-related illnesses such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, a severe mental or physical disability, or brain injuries.

Individuals who are unable to manage their affairs due to substance abuse or mental health issues may also require conservatorship. However, this is typically only used as a last resort when other interventions have failed.

How is Conservatorship Established?

Conservatorship is established through a legal process that involves the court. The process typically involves the following steps:

Petition for Conservatorship

The individual who is seeking conservatorship must file a petition with the court. This petition must include information about the proposed conservator, the reasons why conservatorship is necessary, and information about the proposed protected person.

Appointment of an Attorney

The court will typically appoint an attorney to represent the proposed protected person. This attorney will review the petition and make recommendations to the court regarding the need for conservatorship.

Evaluation of the Protected Person

The court may order an evaluation of the protected person by a medical professional or other qualified individual. This evaluation will assess the protected person’s physical and mental capacity and determine whether conservatorship is necessary.

Hearing

The court will hold a hearing where the proposed conservator, the proposed protected person, and other interested parties can present their arguments for or against conservatorship. The court will then make a decision based on the evidence presented at the hearing.

Appointment of the Conservator

If the court determines that conservatorship is necessary, it will appoint a conservator to manage the affairs of the protected person. The conservator will be responsible for managing either the personal or financial affairs of the protected person, or both.

Responsibilities of the Conservator

The conservator has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the protected person at all times. This includes managing the protected person’s affairs in a responsible and ethical manner.

The specific responsibilities of the conservator will depend on whether they have been appointed as the conservator of the person or the conservator of the estate. In general, the responsibilities of the conservator may include the following:

Conservator of the Person

– Making medical decisions on behalf of the protected person
– Managing the protected person’s living arrangement
– Making decisions regarding the protected person’s education and rehabilitation

Conservator of the Estate

– Managing the protected person’s investments
– Paying bills and managing the protected person’s financial affairs
– Making financial decisions on behalf of the protected person

Termination of Conservatorship

Conservatorship may be terminated by the court if the protected person’s condition improves, or if they are no longer in need of a conservator. Additionally, conservatorship may be terminated if the conservator is found to be abusing their position, or if the conservator resigns or passes away.

Conclusion

Conservatorship is a legal arrangement that is used to manage the affairs of individuals who are unable to do so themselves. There are two types of conservatorship, conservatorship of the person and conservatorship of the estate. The process of establishing conservatorship involves filing a petition with the court, appointment of an attorney, evaluation of the protected person, and a hearing. The conservator has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the protected person and is responsible for managing either the personal or financial affairs of the protected person. Conservatorship may be terminated by the court if the protected person’s condition improves, or if they are no longer in need of a conservator.

FAQs

1. What is conservatorship?

Conservatorship is a legal arrangement in which a court appoints a guardian to manage the personal affairs and financial matters of an individual who is incapacitated due to age, illness, or disability. The conservator is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the individual, including their medical care, living arrangements, and finances.

2. How is a conservator appointed?

To establish a conservatorship, a petition must be filed with the court outlining the reasons why the appointment is necessary. The court will then hold a hearing to determine the individual’s capacity and whether a conservator is needed. If the court decides to appoint a conservator, they will choose someone who is competent, responsible, and willing to take on the role.

3. What are the different types of conservatorship?

There are two types of conservatorship: (1) Conservatorship of the person, which is when a conservator is appointed to make decisions regarding the individual’s living arrangements, medical care, and personal needs; and (2) Conservatorship of the estate, which is when a conservator is appointed to manage the individual’s finances, assets, and property. In some cases, a person may require both types of conservatorship.


References

1. Wells, P. C. (2018). Guardianship and conservatorship: A historical view. Journal of Aging & Social Policy, 30(4), 346-362.
Wells, P. C. (2018). Guardianship and conservatorship: A historical view. Journal of Aging & Social Policy, 30(4), 346-362.

2. Molloy, J. P., & Ahearn, E. P. (2018). Moving beyond guardianship: An interdisciplinary model of supported decision making. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 61(2), 186-199.
Molloy, J. P., & Ahearn, E. P. (2018). Moving beyond guardianship: An interdisciplinary model of supported decision making. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 61(2), 186-199.

3. Gustafson, E. A., & Norstrand, E. A. (2019). Legislative developments in conservatorship and guardianship proceedings. Probate & Property, 33(5), 8-15.
Gustafson, E. A., & Norstrand, E. A. (2019). Legislative developments in conservatorship and guardianship proceedings. Probate & Property, 33(5), 8-15.