What is Conservatorship?
Conservatorship is where the court grants a person the ability to manage and protect your financial, business and property matters in the event you are mentally incapacitated. A conservator can be an individual or an institution.
When is a conservator necessary?
A conservator can be necessary for anyone, as unfortunate and untimely accidents can and do occur. A conservator will be necessary if you do not have a durable power of attorney in place. The Court will then appoint a conservator to you if you become mentally incapacitated.
Conservatorship is especially necessary if you have a loved one who has a mental illness or disability. This can be your spouse or parent who develops Alzheimer’s or dementia, or for a child born with special needs.
Do I need a conservator?
Not necessarily. Unless you are encountering a situation described above, a conservator may not be necessary. However, if you don’t have a durable power of attorney in place you will need a guardian to handle your financial affairs in the event you become mentally incapacitated.
A power of attorney becomes invalidated once you become mentally incapacitated and the Court will appoint a guardian for you. If you have a durable power of attorney in place, an attorney can still make decisions for you regarding your financial matters even in a mentally incapacitated state.
A health care power of attorney will only allow an attorney to make medical decisions for you in an incapacitated state, but not for matters dealing with your financial or business affairs.
It is important to investigate all aspects of estate planning as we all have different needs in our families.
What happens if I do not have conservatorship established?
If you are mentally incapacitated and you do not have a guardian established, along with a power of attorney, durable power of attorney or health care power attorney, the Court will determine who will be your guardian to carry out your financial and/or medical decisions.
Conservatorship should be established for children with special needs and for spouses or children who develop illnesses.
What is the difference between guardianship and conservatorship?
Guardianship grants a person the right to carry out decisions regarding your physical and mental health if you are mentally incapacitated. This may include things like determining where you will live if you need 24-hour health care, or making medical decisions concerning your health and well being.
Is a guardian and conservator the same person?
No, a guardian and conservator do not have to be the same person.
*More information on guardianship for special needs persons can be found in the special needs section of our site.