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.
However, there are numerous reasons to consider a conservatorship over a power of attorney (POA). For example, suppose there is no power of attorney in place and the person lacks capacity to understand what signing said document does to their personal freedoms and liberties. Perhaps there is feuding within the family about how a person should continue living, be it with Alzheimer's or a brain trauma injury and the feuding has left mom or dad with a means to care for them.
Two major types of powers should be considered: Financial and Health Care (Living Will). A financial power of attorney attends to all aspects of money, trusts, wills, investments, legal proceedings, income, taxes, gifts, and property to name a few. A living Will or Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD) provides all aspects of how a principal expects life to be maintained or discontinued.
These powers are typically classified as general, durable, springing, or limited. A power is said to be durable when the agent continues to act on behalf of the principal when said is deemed unable to make decisions regarding health care or finances. A power may be springing at a specified future time or subsequent incapacity of the principal. A limited power is typically used for real estate transactions where the principal cannot be present and such has an expiration date set forth in the power. However, all powers expire when the signer does as well.
When a person cannot manage their financial affairs with the Social Security Administration (SSA), an approved representative may assume the task. Because powers of attorney are not recognized by the SSA, it may be necessary to designate a payee, usually the agent for power of attorney or trustee.
Please note that we only serve when we are also acting as conservator or power of attorney as the Social Security Administration prevents for-profit organizations or persons from serving as representative payees. Only not-for-profit organizations may be hired to serve in this solo-capacity.
There are a limited number of these 501(c)(3) organizations, which charge a miniscule amount as permitted by the Social Security Administration. We have found one organization (click to visit) that is responsive and answered our calls. While we do not personally endorse this company, it may provide you a better understanding of the not-for-profit entity to search for in your region.