What is a conservatorship?
When a person becomes unable to competently make their own decisions for any reason, the courts may need to appoint someone else to do it for them. This person is called a conservator. Sometimes called an “adult guardianship,” a conservatorship refers to the legal relationship between the conservator and the person they are acting on behalf of, called the conservatee (or sometimes “the ward”).
What is a financial conservatorship?
A financial conservatorship is a legal relationship in which a court appoints someone to manage the finances of someone else who is incapable of doing so. When a financial conservator has been appointed to manage another’s assets and property, they are called a “conservator of the estate.” This may be a different individual than the “conservator of the person,” who is appointed to make personal and health care decisions for the conservatee. Often, a single individual is appointed to act in both capacities.
Can a conservatorship be contested?
Yes, you can contest a conservatorship. A frequent example is siblings disagreeing over the best course of action in the care of an elderly parent. Perhaps mom has dementia, and one sibling wishes to sell her home and move her into a facility, while another wishes to retain the home and provide for at-home assistance. In some cases, both siblings may petition for conservatorship, battling it out in court for ultimate decision-making power.
What is the definition of conservatorship/guardianship?
When a person can no longer take care of themselves when it comes to finances and health care, the courts will place powers and responsibilities to manage that person’s affairs in the hands of a conservator/guardian.
In some cases, an individual who is in failing health may have already signed a durable power of attorney agreement which will negate the need for a conservator/guardian. But in a vast majority of cases, family members will need to approach the courts and ask to have a conservator/guardian appointed.
What is a conservatorship/guardianship attorney?
Because the duties of conservators/guardians can be time-consuming and complicated, a conservatorship/guardianship attorney will be appointed. This may be the best choice in many cases, because conservators/guardians will need to attend court hearings, keep detailed records and file papers with the court on a regular basis.
What are the responsibilities of a conservator/guardian?
An attorney makes sense as a conservator because all court documents and actions are a matter of public record. Appointing an attorney gives family members a certain amount of privacy when it comes to sensitive family matters. Also, conservators are overseen by the court and must report back periodically so the court can make sure the conservator/guardian is not taking advantage of the person they are assisting. Courts may also require a conservator/guardian to get approval from the court before making a major decision, such as selling off a piece of real estate or seeking to terminate life support.
How much does a conservatorship/guardianship attorney cost?
Conservators are reimbursed for any expenses they incur, as well as being paid for the services they render. Payments come from the assets of the person they are taking care of, and must be deemed reasonable by the court.
A conservator/guardian must keep performing their duties until released by the court through an order ending their responsibilities. This will generally happen with the conservatee dies, no longer needs assistance, or if their assets have been depleted to the point they can no longer sustain the expenses associated with a conservatorship/guardianship.
Have questions about conservatorship/guardianship attorneys?
How to Fight Conservatorship Abuse
Fighting conservatorship abuse is a complex and emotionally-charged topic. Seeing a loved one ignored or taken advantage of by the person or persons charged with caring for them is extremely disappointing and difficult. In the following, we’ll cover how to file a petition to suspend or remove an abusive conservator, and how a conservatorship attorney may use litigation to secure a new conservator or to terminate a conservatorship altogether.
How To Contest a Conservatorship and Win
You may need to hire a conservatorship lawyer to contest a conservatorship when a conservator is abusing or exploiting their authority for personal gain. It’s always painful to see a loved one becomes incapacitated due to injury, illness, or a neurological condition. It can be even more difficult when the disabled individual has no power of attorney in place, making it necessary for the courts to appoint a conservator to make vital financial and personal decisions on their behalf.
Unfortunately, some conservators abuse or exploit their authority, often for personal gain, or otherwise act in ways that are detrimental to the conservatee’s interests and the interests of their beneficiaries. Here’s a guide on how to contest conservatorships in court, and win.
We represent individual trustees, professional private fiduciaries, and trust companies understand and execute their duties and responsibilities as trustee, including explaining trust documents and interplay with trust amendments and restatements, assisting with marshaling, inventorying and appraising assets, investigating and responding to creditor claims, preparing accountings, coordinating with tax and other professionals, determining distributions to trust beneficiaries, and seeking judicial approval of trustee acts or omissions, where necessary, so your trust administration is efficient and cost-effective, and so you are protected.
Discovering that you have been named executor of a will or that you need to get appointed administrator of a probate estate, especially while dealing with the loss of a loved one, can be overwhelming. We have the expertise to guide you through the appointment process, handling all of the paperwork and probate hearings so you don’t have to, walking you through your duties and responsibilities, preparing accountings, coordinating with tax and other professionals, and responding to beneficiaries so your estate and probate administration is worry free, cost-effective, and efficient.
BENEFICIARIES AND HEIRS
Whether you are an heir, a trust beneficiary, a will beneficiary involved in a probate, or the beneficiary of a bank account, a pension, a 401k or other retirement account, or a life insurance policy, we have the experience to advise you of your rights, what you can expect, when you can expect it, and help guide you through your trust, estate or probate administration, to fight to get what’s yours if you are involved in a trust, estate or probate litigation, and to protect you from abuse by fiduciaries, beneficiaries, and others, including protecting you or your loved ones from financial elder abuse.
Creditors are people, businesses, or anyone else to whom a decedent owed money at the time of death. Most states probate laws require that creditors act within a limited amount of time after a debtor passes to assert their claims, and if they fail to act within that time or fail to follow the specific procedures and methods prescribed by state probate law, their claims may be time-barred and lost forever. These rules apply similarly when litigation is pending against a defendant who dies during a case. If you are owed money by someone who passed, we can help you recover it.
A conservatorship is a process by which a court appoints someone to care for you or your loved one when you or they are unable to provide self-care for their health needs (conservator of the person) or self-manage finances (conservator of the estate), including resisting undue influence and becoming a victim of financial elder abuse. If you think you or a loved needs help or has been or may become the victim of abuse, or if someone is seeking to establish an unnecessary conservatorship for you or a loved one, we can help prosecute or defend your conservatorship.
SPOUSESSpouses enjoy a special status under many state probate laws that give them special inheritance rights and benefits, including priority for appointment as executor for a deceased spouse’s estate, a right to seek a family allowance for life’s necessities during the pendency of an administration, an ability to pursue a spousal property petition and possibly avoid probate altogether, and, in some states, community property rights. Entitlement to these rights and the legal procedures that need to be followed to protect them are complex, especially when complicated by family law issues like prenuptial agreements. If you are a surviving spouse, even if you were in the middle of a divorce at the time of death, we can help you.
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