A conservator is a person who the court appoints to take care of a minor or individual who is incapacitated by illness or accident. The act of assuming the responsibilities and duties of a conservator is known as conservatorship.

What Are the Different Types of Conservatorship?

1) Conservator of the Person  - A “conservator of the person” is someone who is given the legal right to make decisions about day-to-day life. This can include:

  • Arranging for care
  • Deciding where someone will live
  • Being in charge of health care choices
  • Arranging for personal care and food

Thus, the party that is selected to be a conservator of the person should be someone who is familiar with the day-to-day needs of the person they are responsible for watching.

2) Conservator of the Estate - A “conservator of the estate” is given the legal right to handle financial affairs and make financial decisions. The court oversees these dealings, and the conservator needs to obtain authorization for certain transactions, such as selling property. Also, the conservator is required to purchase a bond that acts as insurance over the assets of the estate they are responsible for.

3) Both - A conservator can be named either a conservator of the person, a conservator of the estate, or both. Depending on the situation, it may be simpler to name one person to act as both types of conservator. 

How Is a Conservator Appointed?

Courts will usually appoint a family member to act as conservator. However, if no family members are suitable, the judge may appoint someone else.

A conservator will control a person’s affairs as long as needed. Once an individual reaches the age of majority, or recovers enough to take care of their own affairs, then the conservatorship will end. Also, if all of the assets in the conservatorship are used up, the conservatorship of the estate will end. Otherwise, the conservatorship will end immediately upon death.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with Conservators?

Selecting the right person to act as conservator is a very important decision. Since a conservator will be authorized to make major decisions on your behalf, you want to select a person who is trustworthy and who knows the ins and outs of your preferences. If you have any questions or disputes regarding conservatorship, an estate lawyer can provide you with valuable legal advice. They will also be able to represent you in court if you need to file a lawsuit involving conservatorship laws.