A conservator is a person appointed by the court to manage a protected person’s finances, often times referred to as “estate.” A conservator can be appointed to manage the estate of a minor child or of an adult who is unable to manage his or her own assets. Often a parent, spouse, child, sibling, or close family friend is appointed as a conservator, however, a professional conservator can be appointed as well. If a protected person is also unable to meet his or her needs for medical care, nutrition, clothing, shelter, or safety, a guardianship may also be necessary.

Because the appointment of a conservator often interferes with a protected person’s independence, it is necessary to ensure that there are no less restrictive alternatives to a conservatorship, including the use of informal arrangements between family members, technological assistance, or powers of attorney.

The powers of a conservator can vary depending on the needs of the protected person, however, a conservator typically has the power to pay the protected person’s living expenses and debts, manage or sell the protected person’s real estate, and approve or withhold approval of contracts entered into by the protected person. Once appointed, a conservator has a duty to file an inventory of the protected person’s assets. Each year, the conservator must also file an annual accounting, detailing any changes in the protected person’s assets.

Please speak with one of our Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Probate attorneys if you are interested in learning more about conservatorships.

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