While a guardian can handle personal decisions for another, a conservator must be appointed by a court to control financial decisions. If a loved one has become unable to make decisions regarding finances because of physical or mental illness or incapacity, we will help you draft the appropriate documents to ensure his or her financial interests are protected. Conservatorships may also be used to manage personal injury rewards and/or inheritances received by children under the age of 18.
We have more than 35 years of collective experience helping people in the Watertown area obtain conservatorships to help care for loved ones who are not competent to care for themselves. Contact Linda Sternberg, Esquire, for a consultation regarding your loved ones who are unable to make their own decisions on a temporary or permanent basis.
Typically, a conservator is necessary if someone has become incapacitated or incompetent due to a physical or mental illness and needs help handling their finances and/or property. You are required to provide proof of that person’s incapacity to the court. The court may appoint a conservator with general powers or with limited powers to handle a few discrete tasks, or to handle a single transaction.
A conservator with general powers may, among other things, collect and retain the incapacitated person’s asset, invest said assets, sell personal property, and pay routine expenses on behalf of the incapacitated person. If the court limits the conservator’s powers, it may allow him or her to handle only certain specific financial transactions, while restricting others. If a conservator is appointed with limitations or without specific authority to engage in certain transactions, the conservator can return to court to complete other transactions when and if they become necessary.
If an individual can handle their own routine, day-to-day expenses, but is incapable of handling a larger financial transaction, like the sale of real estate, the court can appoint a conservator to handle that single transaction, or directly approve a single transaction.
Once you have been appointed conservator, you must file an Inventory with the court, which sets forth the assets of the incapacitated person. The conservator must also file annual accounts. The annual account is a detailed listing of all income received and expenses paid out on behalf of the incapacitated person in the last twelve months. The accounts must be approved by the court.
A conservator may also be appointed for a minor if the minor’s estate has substantial funds or property and the child is not in the custody of his or her parents, or if the child’s parents are unable to manage the funds. The conservator for a minor manages the child’s money and is responsible for handling finances related to the minor’s care, health, and education.
If a person is competent, he or she may execute a durable power of attorney, which grants another individual the legal authority to manage the principal person’s assets and income going forward, or upon incapacity or incompetence. If a loved one has a durable power of attorney, you may be able to avoid going to court to file for conservatorship. However, if an individual has a durable power of attorney and a court-appointed conservator, the conservator has authority over the person appointed under the power of attorney.
No matter what type of conservatorship issue you face, we can assure you that your concerns will be heard, and we will work with you to achieve the best solution. To set up a consultation, contact the law office of Linda Sternberg, Esquire.