A conservator is an individual appointed by a court to make financial and/or health care decisions on behalf of someone who has been deemed unable to make those decisions for themselves. A conservator will play a critical role in the affairs of the incapacitated individual, called a conservatee. Ensuring a conservator is appropriately appointed is very important.
Considerations for Conservatorship
If the individual in need of assistance has previously executed a power of attorney for health and medical matters, they will most likely not need a court appointed conservator. A conservator is likely to be appointed if an individual is deemed by a court to be incapacitated, which could be the case in a number of scenarios, including when an individual:
- Is in a coma;
- Is mentally challenged;
- Has suffered a brain injury;
- Suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia; or
- Has had a stroke.
A Conservatorship can be complete, meaning the conservator has the right to make all/or health and financial decisions on behalf of the individual. A doctor is required to provide evidence that the individual requires conservatorship.
Conservatorship must be granted by a court. To instigate the process, the requestor must file appropriate forms with the probate court in the county where the proposed conservatee resides. The court will then hear evidence of the individual’s mental incapacity and decide whether a Conservatorship is appropriate. There is an opportunity for anyone to object to the Conservatorship or the proposed conservator. If no friend or family member is suitable to act as the conservator, a public conservator may be appointed.
Given the scope of the work, conservators may be compensated. They are reimbursed for expenses and, if compensation is requested, are paid for their services from the estate of the conservatee. The Conservatorship does not end unless the conservatee dies or it is found they are no longer incapacitated.