How are Conservators Appointed?
If you become incapacitated due to an illness or accident, a conservator may be appointed to handle your affairs. While rules vary somewhat from place to place, the general process of having a conservator appointed is the same in most states.
First, an interested person, usually a family member or the administrator for a health-care facility, must file a petition in probate court. A probate court is a state court which has jurisdiction over wills, estates, and guardians. The petition usually includes medical reports or other evidence of your incapacity.
Next, the court will arrange for an evaluation to make sure you are legally incapacitated. This may include an examination by a doctor, or an interview by a third party assigned by the court.
If you oppose the appointment of a conservator, the court will schedule a trial during which testimony will be heard. The judge will decide at this trial whether you are competent to manage your own affairs. However, even if you agree to the appointment of a conservator, or if you are unable to respond due to your disability, the court will still hold a hearing to make sure you are legally incapacitated.
Once you are deemed to be incapacitated, the court will appoint the conservator. This will usually be a family member. However, if no family members are present or suitable, then the court will pick someone else to serve as your conservator.
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Last Modified: 06-10-2009 04:36 PM PDT
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