A conservatorship is a legal relationship created through a formal court proceeding; it occurs when someone is no longer able to take care of themselves. It’s important to understand that a conservatorship is created specifically for an adult who is either physically or mentally incapacitated. This differs from guardianships and a power of attorney. A power of attorney is appointed when a person is still of sound mind and can legally sign the document. The POA, however, is not effective until that person becomes incapacitated. A guardianship is created for minors or children.
Reasons To Create A Conservatorship
There are several situations in which a family might need to create a conservatorship for their loved one. Generally, conservatorships are established for people who are in comas, suffer from dementia, advanced Alzheimer’s disease, or have other serious illnesses or injuries and did not already set up a power of attorney.
However, if the incapacitated person planned ahead and appointed a power of attorney, that person won’t need a conservator. The person appointed as the POA can take charge of the incapacitated person’s finances. But if planning was not done ahead of time, that person’s family members or loved ones must go through the legal process of assigning a conservator.
Reasons To End A Conservatorships
Ending a conservatorship is up to the court. The conservator must uphold their duties until the court issues an order to end those responsibilities. This usually happens if the conservatee dies, if they no longer need the help and guidance of the conservator or if the conservator resigns or can no longer handle their responsibilities. In this situation, the conservatorship itself does not end, but someone else takes over the conservator’s duties.
Reasons To Create A Special Needs Trust
Although a special needs trust is similar to a conservatorship, there are differences. A special needs trust is created specifically to protect the future of people who have special needs; this can be for both adults and children. If you are a conservator who’s in charge of a person with disabilities, a special needs trust is a great way to plan for their future. The primary function of a special needs trust is to hold and spend their assets without it impacting the Social Security or other public assistance benefits they might receive. The specific details of the trust dictate what it can be used for.
Do you have more questions about how to manage a conservatorship?
At Marcia L. Campbell, CPA we act as trusted professional fiduciaries for many of our clients. As licensed professionals, we understand the importance of knowing that your trust, estate, or conservatorship is being managed legally, ethically, and accurately. We act as caring and objective fiduciaries and client advocates.
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