Weighing Your Options: Conservatorship

Published On:

Senior woman in wheelchair with nurse helping

A conservator, also known as an adult guardian in most states, is a person who has court-ordered authority to manage the affairs of those who no longer have the ability to make their own medical or financial decisions. If the incapacitated person did not set up a plan of durable powers of attorney for finances and healthcare, family members can ask the court to appoint a guardian. Conservatorship can be a life-changing decision and you may want to consider the good and the bad that comes with the incredible responsibility.

Being an adult guardian can be time consuming and very expensive. Further, the majority of conservators have an attorney that keeps them on track with their case and determines what more paperwork might be needed. The process of becoming a conservator can be lengthy and not many people can handle the increased work-load, frequent court dates, and filing of paperwork. Conservators are also held responsible for handling the affairs of their charge appropriately. The court usually has the conservator report their actions regarding the handling of the financial or medical affairs. The court will also require conservators to ask for permission for major decision such as selling their charge’s property or making life-altering/life-ending medical decisions.

In order to avoid a conservatorship, it is recommended that the older person prepare durable powers of attorney. This way if a serious medical issue occurs, the chosen guardian can step in take over financial or medical responsibilities. Conservatorship can also end if the incapacitated party dies, the incapacitated party no longer needs their guardian, or if the conservator withdraws from their responsibilities and another guardian takes over.

Worried about an older parent or loved one’s future financial or medical well-being? For more information regarding conservatorship, durable powers of attorney, or estate planning, contact the experienced lawyers at Temmerman, Cilley, & Kohlmann, LLP today. We’ll do our best to help you prepare for the future.