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A conservatorship is established when the court appoints an individual (the conservator) to have custody and control of the property of another individual (the protected person) whose decision-making capacity is so impaired that they are unable to make, communicate or carry out important decisions concerning financial affairs. Under a general (or full) conservatorship, the conservator has the authority to make all financial management decisions on behalf of the protected person, except those that require prior court approval. Under a limited conservatorship, the conservator has only those specific powers set by the court. A standby conservatorship may be established if an individual is currently able to handle his/her own financial affairs, but anticipates a time where a conservator may be necessary and chooses a specific person to serve as conservator if the need arises. Standby conservatorships only take effect upon the occurrence of an event specified in the petition.

monthly budget

Once appointed, the conservator is responsible for protecting and preserving the protected person's estate, which includes investing it prudently, accounting for it, performing all other duties required and delivering the assets of the protected person to the entitled person(s) at the termination of the conservatorship. Unless otherwise limited by the documents establishing the conservatorship, a conservator has the authority to:

  • Review financial records and broker statements;

  • Manage bank accounts and use accounts to receive payments and make deposits;

  • Balance account ledgers and maintain a complete and accurate record of all funds flowing through the accounts;

  • File income tax returns; and

  • Locate and maintain deeds and insurance policies.

With prior court approval, the conservator may also:

  • Invest funds;

  • Make gifts on the protected person's behalf from conservatorship assets to whom or to which such gifts were regularly made prior to the appointment or on showing that such gifts would benefit the protected person. No gift shall be allowed which would foreseeably prevent adequate provision for the protected person's best interest.

  • Make payments consistent with the conservator's plan directly to the protected person or to others for the protected person's education and training needs.

  • Use the protected person's income or assets to provide for any person that the protected person is legally obligated to support.

  • Compromise, adjust, arbitrate, or settle any claim by or against the protected person or the conservator.

  • Make elections for the protected person who is the surviving spouse.

  • Exercise the right to disclaim on behalf of the protected person.

  • Sell, mortgage, exchange, pledge, or lease the protected person's real and personal property.

Upon court approval, a conservatorship may terminate if the conservator is removed or resigns, or when the protected person reaches the age of majority, is determined to no longer need a conservator, dies, or has an estate whose assets no longer exceed the amount of charges and claims against it.

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