Conservatorship is a subject not often discussed, and you might not have heard about it until the involvement of celebrities. However, this refers to a legal process for a specific person to assume guardianship over an adult based on a person’s capability to make sound decisions for themselves. If you’re wondering if your family needs it, read more for some information you need to know about the legal process.
Different Types Of Conservatorships
Conservatorship can either be for medical care or financial management. There are various types of conservatorships, such as:
- Human: This type of probate conservatorship grants the authority to oversee a specific person’s health and lifestyle. The child of an elderly parent can become a conservator and make decisions for their care, such as placing the parents in a nursing home to get them the care they need. To get more information on human conservatorship, you can contact a law firm similar to Bochnewich Law Offices. They are likely to specialize in legal processes like conservatorship.
- Limited: A person with a disability can be placed under the supervision of the parents or other living relatives, making them conservators for a disabled adult to handle their financial matters. The adult still has the right to choose, such as the preferred place of residence.
- Estate: An adult living with an elderly parent might become the conservator to manage the parent’s finances. The child will have a responsibility to pay bills and other financial-related matters. It is another type of probate conservatorship.
- Joint: Conservatorship wherein multiple people were granted the title conservators. For example, two elder siblings share a joint conservatorship with an elderly parent.
A Court Proceeding Must Establish The Conservatorship
Conservatorship must be heard in the court of law because of its legalities. The following individuals must first file a petition for a judge to appoint conservators:
- The proposed conservatee, or the person who needs assistance
- The spouse or domestic partner of the proposed conservatee
- The proposed conservatee’s relative
- The state or local entity, if the proposed conservatee has no know family members or relatives
- The proposed conservatee’s friend or any interested person
Any family member, friend, or professional can be an individual conservator. For example, a pop star’s father became the conservator of his daughter’s lifestyle. This became a highly publicized issue with surprising events dating back to 2021.
Aside from individuals, organizations can also become conservators over the conservatee, such as specific nonprofit charitable corporations. Trust companies can also become conservators of the estate only and not including the person. If a person doesn’t have any living family relatives and is friendless, a county agency may become the public guardian appointed by the judge.
The conservator is considered a fiduciary, and it is your legal duty to make decisions on behalf of the conservatee. You are obligated to make decisions and act in the conservatee’s best interest. The court also has the power to enforce it on the conservator. If relatives have any reason and evidence to believe you are neglecting your responsibilities or deliberately acting out against the conservatee, they can pursue you in court.
A financial conservator must also not use the conservatee’s financial resources for personal expenses. They are also not allowed to move into the conservatee’s home after placing the latter in a living facility.
For those physical conservators, they must organize and keep the health records of the conservatee as well as medical information that must support the conservator’s decisions. The conservator must first obtain the doctor’s recommendations before the former can make any health or medical-related decisions.
A court order may also be required for the conservator to be able to make the final decisions that will vary from state to state. For example, the court must allow the conservator to sell land, property, or securities.
Termination Of Conservatorship
A conservatorship for the elderly conservatee is permanent and lifted upon death. The person who filed for the conservatorship doesn’t need to request termination. An exception happens when the conservatee recovers from medical or mental issues. Only then could the court terminate the conservatorship.
Avoidance Of Conservatorship
A person incapacitated by illness doesn’t always need to be under conservatorship. However, you must obtain a power of attorney for healthcare and prepare a living will. You can seek the assistance of an estate planning lawyer to help you prepare these documents.
Conservatorship applies to adults with limited capabilities of taking care of themselves. The process is complicated, so the court must oversee the case to help the proposed conservatee. If you feel that a family member needs help, you can seek the best law firm near you for proper legal advice.