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.
The Process of Appointing a Conservator
First, an interested person, who is usually a family member or the administrator of the health-care facility where you are receiving treatment, must file a petition requesting a conservator be appointed for you in probate court. A probate court is a state court that has jurisdiction over wills, estates, and guardians. The petition requesting the appointment of the conservator usually includes medical reports and 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.
What If I Do Not Want a Conservator to Be Appointed?
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 or if you are in need to a conservator. However, even if you agree to the appointment of a conservator or if you are unable to respond due to your medical condition, 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.
Consult with an Attorney
If you are worried about your interests being respected if a conservator is appointed, then you should talk to an estate attorney to find out what you can do to make sure that the court and a conservator are aware of your wishes in case you are too incapacitated to tell them yourself. A qualified attorney near you can inform you of various steps you can take to protect your interests in the event that a conservatory is appointed.