Conservatorship is a mechanism for protecting the elderly or disabled who become unable to care for themselves. Conservatorship of the Person enables a Court-appointed individual, called a Conservator, to make decisions regarding the care of a friend or family member. Conservatorship of the Estate enables the Conservator to take care of the individual’s finances. Either type of Conservatorship can be sought separately. Justification regarding the need for the specific authority granted must be given to the Court.

Conservatorship of the Person

When a person is no longer able to care for themselves an interested person can petition the Court to be a Conservator. The disabled person is called the Conservatee. As a Conservator of the person you can make or participate in decisions regarding the Conservatee, including where he or she lives and what medical treatment is administered.

Conservatorship of the Estate

When a person is no longer able to take care of their finances, an interested person can petition the Court to be a Conservator of the Estate. As the Conservator of the Estate you can communicate with the financial institutions holding account in the name of your loved one, apply for government benefits and organize expenses.

As a Conservator of the Estate, regular accounts of money earned or spent must be presented to the Court. The Court will also require regular visits from the Court Investigator’s Office, who will report on the physical health, mental health and living arrangements of your loved one. Once appointed, the Court holds the Conservator responsible for the well-being of the Conservatee.

Common Reasons for Conservatorship

A child may wish to pursue Conservatorship if a parent has no estate plan and does not have the capacity to create an estate plan, handle finances or make health care decisions.

Once a disabled child reaches the age of 18, he or she will be treated as an adult, vastly changing the parent/child relationship. This change may be problematic when special needs are involved. The Court can grant an individual the right to make certain decisions for a special needs adult. Each case is considered separately by the Courts, and only the powers deemed necessary are granted.

Related Topic:

Special Needs Trusts