Conservatorship is a court-supervised process in which a person voluntarily agrees to allow another individual of his or her choice manage the person’s assets and financial affairs.
If a petition is brought to establish a conservatorship, a judge is called upon in a formal court proceeding to determine whether the person who has been nominated to serve as conservator is suitable. If so, the judge can then proceed to appoint that individual to manage the petitioner’s finances. Importantly, the judge is not allowed to select another individual (other than the person nominated) to serve as the petitioning person’s conservator. The judge is only empowered to either accept or reject the person who was nominated to act as conservator. Furthermore, even after a conservatorship is created, a petition can be brought at any time to terminate it.
A conservatorship does not require (or even permit, actually) any determination of incapacity. So, under appropriate circumstances, a person can take the steps necessary to ensure that his or her assets and financial affairs are properly handled, without having to suffer through evidence and findings of disability or incompetence.
A conservatorship differs from a power of attorney for finances in a number of respects. Among these is the fact that a conservatorship by its nature involves the on-going supervision of the court. A conservator is required to make regular filings detailing your financial information and reporting on his/her activities as conservator, and the conservator can be held accountable directly by the court for any misconduct.
To discuss the options available to you for assistance in handling your finances or those of another family member or loved one, please schedule an initial consultation.