The court can appoint a conservator or enter other protective orders regarding the estate and affairs of an adult person if the court specifically finds on the record both of the following:
- The person is unable to manage his or her estate and affairs effectively for reasons such as mental illness, mental deficiency, mental disorder, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication, confinement, detention by a foreign power or disappearance; and
- The person has property that will be wasted or dissipated unless proper management is provided, or that funds are needed for the support, care and welfare of the person or those entitled to be supported by the person and that protection is necessary or desirable to obtain or provide funds.
If you are seeking appointment as a conservator, you may be required by the court to furnish a full set of fingerprints to enable the court to conduct a criminal background investigation and you will have to pay the cost for this. By accepting the appointment as conservator, you are consenting personally to the jurisdiction of the court in any proceeding relating to the conservatorship estate that is brought by an interested person.
There are many other duties and responsibilities imposed upon a conservator, including inventorying the assets and providing annual accountings.
Case examples where adult conservatorship may be necessary:
- My sibling is misusing a power of attorney and is using our parent’s money for their own benefit.
As the agent under a power of attorney, your sibling owes fiduciary duties to your parent. This includes the duty to give an accounting. If your sibling is unable or unwilling to provide an accounting, then – depending on the strength of the evidence supporting your suspicions – you could bring a conservatorship action which would invalidate the power of attorney and, possibly prove exploitation
- My close friend has a “boyfriend” (or “girlfriend”) who is much younger and who has been isolating my friend. My friend confided that she has been giving her money to this person and it’s draining her accounts.
We have seen this scenario many times before. Depending on the facts, this could possibly be an case involving the exploitation of a vulnerable adult. There are statutes which apply and we have experience enforcing them for our clients.
- My parent has been gambling and playing the Jamaican lottery. A lot of money has been lost.
- My mother inherited a lot of money. My father has been abusive to her and she filed for divorce. He has now filed for guardianship and says he’s going to take over her inheritance.
- My brother is very ill and his business partner has a power of attorney to manage his money. I think that person has been misusing my brother funds and paying himself too much for what he does, and answers to no one.
- My well-to-do friend’s spouse died and she has been living alone. She recently lost touch with reality. Is there something I can do to help her?
- My dad died and my mother received life insurance proceeds but she is unable to make proper financial decisions.