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Conservatorship: Purpose And Process

When an adult can no longer handle his or her own affairs, the court may appoint a conservator to look after that person’s best interests. Family members, friends or professional fiduciaries may be appointed conservators.

At Kristof & Kristof, Attorneys at Law, our attorneys advise and assist clients seeking conservatorships.

Things To Consider When Establishing A Conservatorship

Conservatorships are incredibly helpful tools for those who need them. They give a person’s loved ones the power to help them legally, medically, and financially. But conservatorships are technically detailed. If you need a conservatorship, it is important to retain counsel knowledgeable in conservatorship practice.

If the incapacitated person’s loved ones must go to court to have a conservator appointed to manage the person’s financial affairs, they must ask the judge to rule that the person cannot take care of their own affairs. Often, the reason for the incapacity must be explained in detail. Relevant family medical history, medications being taken and causes of incapacity are usually described in court filings.

The responsibilities of a conservator continue beyond just obtaining the conservatorship. Often, after the conservator is appointed, he or she must:

  • Obtain a bond (a kind of insurance to protect the incapacitated person)
  • Prepare and file with the court detailed financial reports
  • Obtain court approval for transactions, such as selling real estate

An Alternative: A Durable Power Of Attorney For Financial Management

A power of attorney is a document in which one person (the principal) nominates another person (the agent) to act in place of the principal for financial matters.

Under a durable power of attorney for financial matters, the agent handles the principal’s financial affairs in the event the principal becomes incapacitated and unable to act for himself or herself.

The principal must have sufficient mental capacity to execute a valid durable power of attorney for financial management.

Another Alternative: An Advance Health Care Directive

In advance health care directives, an adult (the principal) takes the following actions:

1) Nominates an agent to make health care decisions for the principal in the event the principal becomes unable to make those decisions for himself or herself.

2) Provides health care and end-of-life instructions for the agent to follow at the principal’s incapacity.

Learn More About Conservatorships And Alternatives

Put the right estate planning documents in place for your unique situation. Call 626-535-9445 or send an email inquiry for more information.