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How is a conservator or committee appointed?

All conservatorships and/or committee(s) are appointed by regional courts.  The petitioner is usually contacted by a concerned person about a person needing help with daily living activities and/or fianances.  The petitioner will require an attorney to petition the courts and additional personnel from the courts will be assigned to ensure a conservatorship/committee is warranted.

What does a conservator or committee do?

A conservator / committee is the person who is legally appointed to manage the estate and/or health of the infirmed. A conservatorship / committee is a legal tool to provide management for the financial and/or personal affairs of individuals deemed by the court to be physically or mentally incapacitated. A conservatee or Infirmed Person is a person who is the subject of a conservatorship/committee. A Conservator/Committee of the Person is appointed by the court to assume responsibility for decisions regarding the health and welfare of a person. A person is determined by the court to be incapacitated when he or she lacks sufficient understanding or “capacity” to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his or her daily living needs. A Conservator/Committee of the Estate is responsible for the prudent use and protection of the infirm's assets. The conservator/committee is responsible for inventorying, marshalling and managing all assets and benefits belonging to the infirmed. The conservator/committee receives income, pays obligations of the estate, applies for pensions, and organizes data for the preparation of income tax returns and other related duties.

What is a representative payee?

Any person may be designated by the Social Security Administration or other retirement plans to receive the income and pay the expenses of an incapacitated individual.  We do not serve independent of any other designation (e.g. estate trustee, conservator/committee, or power of attorney).

How is a conservatee or infirmed person protected?

The local probate court often appoints an attorney to represent the alleged incapacitated person. A court investigator is also appointed by the court to determine the need for a conservator / committee and to recommend a suitable person, or approve of the nominated petitioner, to serve in that role. All issues and information are brought before a probate court judge who decides if the person is incapacitated or in need of protection and, accordingly, appoints a conservator/committee. The appointed fiduciary is accountable to the court for his or her work. The fiduciary must report to the court and receive the court's approval in carrying out his responsibilities as specified in Letters of Conservatorship / Committee but may also ask the court for additional information when necessary. A surety bond for the conservator/committee is required, which is intended to protect the assets of the infirm's estate. Note that the bond is paid from the infirm's estate since the protection is for the conserved (infirmed).

Estate or Trust Administration

A trustee will manage investments, keep records, manage assets, prepare court accountings, pay bills (depending on the nature of the trust) medical expenses, charitable gifts, inheritances or other distributions of income and principal. Trustees are not required to exercise all of the powers that they are granted.[2] A trustee can manage any number of trust types, including Charitable, Special Needs Trusts, ILIT, Corporate, and Estate Trusts.

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Conservator / Committee

The term conservatorship is synonymous with elderly guardian but used mostly in the western United States. It is a court-appointed process that can be very expensive as the petitioners and proposed conservatee all must be represented by attorneys, with just a few exceptions for in pro per family members without objections. The reason for the expense is that the proposed conservatee's estate is expected to bear the burden of the court costs in the procedures to appoint.

Powers of Attorney

Under common law, a power of attorney becomes ineffective if its grantor dies or becomes "incapacitated," meaning unable to grant such a power, because of physical injury or mental illness, for example, unless the grantor (or principal) specifies that the power of attorney will continue to be effective even if the grantor becomes incapacitated. This type of power of attorney is called "power of attorney with durable provisions" in the United States or "enduring power of attorney" elsewhere. In effect, under a durable power of attorney (DPoA) [1] Read more

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