A conservator is someone appointed by the court to handle your affairs if you become incapacitated.  Depending on the nature of the conservatorship, this person may have complete authority over your assets. 

How Are My Assets Protected From Mismanagement?

There are a number of safeguards in place to protect you against mismanagement by your conservator:

  • The court will try to make sure that the appointed person is suitable to act as your conservator. Often, the court will appoint a family member as conservator. Anyone can object to the specific choice of a conservator.
  • The conservator is supervised by the court.  Most states require that the conservator file a plan with the court, and then periodically provide an updates. While a conservator may have the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf, they must get approval before making certain impactful decisions, such as selling property.
  • A conservator is required to obtain a bond.  The bond acts as a kind of insurance against mismanagement.  If the court feels that your estate has lost value and the conservator’s dishonesty or negligence was to blame, then your estate will be reimbursed for the loss.

While these safeguards protect you against your conservator’s mismanagement, they are not foolproof, and mismanagement can still occur.

Should I Consult an Attorney?

If you or a family member is being placed under conservatorship, you may wish to contest the conservatorship, object to the choice of conservator, or identify mismanagement. An estate attorney with experience in conservatorships, can help you take these steps to ensure that the conservatorship is properly managed.