By Carmine Perri
When we help clients develop their estate plans, one of the advance directives we encourage them to create is a Designation of Conservator. You decide ahead of time who will manage your affairs – and under what certain circumstances – if you become incapacitated.
So what is a conservator?
A conservator is a person appointed by the Probate Court to oversee the financial and/or personal affairs of an adult who is determined by the Probate Court to be incapable of managing his or her affairs or unable to care for himself or herself. A conservator may also be appointed for the same purpose for a capable person who requests such assistance.
A conservator can be a conservator of estate, appointed to oversee the conserved person’s financial affairs, or a conservator of person, appointed to manage his or her health care decisions, or both.
There are two types of conservatorships:
- Voluntary – A capable person may petition the court on his or her own behalf to have a conservator appointed.
- Involuntary – Any person can file an application alleging that a respondent (the proposed conserved person) is incapable of managing his or her affairs.
Some key things to remember about conservatorships:
- A conservator can only be appointed by a probate court.
- A respondent has the right to be represented by counsel.
- If a respondent does not have his or her own attorney, the probate court will appoint one at no cost.
- The filing of a conservatorship application does not provide immediate relief since it can be a long and onerous process.
Conservatorship proceedings hold an important place in our legal system, particularly when an elderly, vulnerable adult or someone with a developmental disability needs protection. But they should be used with caution, and only when truly necessary.
If you have been appointed as a conservator, need to protect a loved with a conservatorship or you need to dispute a conservatorship, give us a call at 860-259-1575.
Applying for Conservatorship in Connecticut