Probate Conservatorships - Estate Planning Issues - P2

 Estate Planning Issues By Toma Franklin, Staff Writer

This is the 2nd part of a two part series on probate conservatorships. You can read the first part here - Probate Conservatorships - Estate Planning Issues - Part I.

Conservator Of The Estate

  • Managing and protecting the Conservatee's assets

  • Making a list of all of the Conservatee's assets

  • Collecting the Conservatee's income

  • Paying the Conservatee's bills and expenses

Other responsibilities can be found in the Handbook For Conservators that all new Conservators are required to purchase from the courthouse clerk.

Why Would A Court Investigator Become Involved In A Probate Conservatorship Hearing? A Court Investigator is sometimes assigned to a case in order to provide neutral information to a judge. The court may want an investigator to do the following, as well as other additional duties, which include:

  • Conducting a private interview with a proposed conservatee to explain how the proposed Conservatorship will change their life

  • Familiarize both parties with the Probate Conservatorship hearing procedure

  • Determine whether a proposed conservatee requires a lawyer to represent him or her, in the event that they lack the ability to understand the proceedings and or give an opinion.

After one year, the Court Investigator will typically make a home visit to the conservatee, and is required to file a report if the temporary conservator has requested the movement of the conservatee out of their residents, if the conservator has petitioned for exclusive authority to make medical decisions on behalf of the Conservatee, or if the Conservator has expressed a desire to sell the Conservatee's current or former home.

Who Can Be A Conservator?

In a Probate Conservatorship, the Spouse of the proposed Conservatee is given first priority for Conservatorship under the law, followed by any adult children, parents of the proposed Conservatee, siblings, anyone else approved by law, and then, finally, a court appointed Public Guardian.

A Court appointed Public Guardian is sometimes required in situations when a Court has deemed that a Probate Conservator is necessary, but no qualified person can be found. Public Guardians can also be Court appointed as the result of a referral from Adult Protective Services, or a relative, friend, neighbor, or doctor of the proposed Conservatee, as well as a referring Police Officer or other official acting within his or her appropriate legal capacity.