A conservatorship arises when an adult is unable to care for his or herself. In such a situation, a judge has to step in to appoint a conservator, a person who is legally responsible for ensuring the incapacitated person’s needs are met. The laws of conservatorships differ depending on where you live, but let’s take a look at some common aspects.
Types: Conservatorships come in different varieties based on the kind of powers the conservator has. A conservatorship of the person allows the conservator to care for the daily needs of the incapacitated adult, providing living arrangements, health care, housekeeping and all the other duties required for daily life. A conservator of the estate, on the other hand, is a person who looks after the adult’s financial concerns in order to ensure bills are paid and property is adequately cared for.
Some states also differentiate conservatorships into general and limited forms. A general conservator has the ability to manage all aspects of the adult’s life and are often used when the care of an elderly person is required, or for a seriously ill or injured younger person. A limited conservatorship is typically used when an adult with disabilities is cared for. The conservator has some powers, but the adult also maintains some control over his or her own affairs.
Process: Only a court can appoint a conservator. A hearing must be held where all interested parties are heard from. After this the court will determine if a conservator ship is needed and appoint one or more people to serve in the position. The court will also determine what powers the conservator has and how long the position lasts.