Conservatorship is a legal process designed to protect those who cannot care for their own well-being due to incapacity or disability. A court appoints a conservator to make decisions on their behalf, including personal, medical, and financial decisions. Understanding your options when it comes to conservatorship can help you make informed decisions that ensure the best care for your loved one.
Types of Conservatorships: There are different types of conservatorships, each with distinct responsibilities. A onservator of the person is responsible for personal and medical decisions, while a conservator of the estate handles financial matters. In many cases, the same individual serves both roles, but it’s also possible to appoint separate people for each.
Choosing a Conservator: The choice of a conservator is a significant decision. You want someone trustworthy, responsible, and caring. The chosen person must be willing to undertake this role, and it’s essential to discuss your intentions with them beforehand. Court’s often give preference to relatives but will consider others if no suitable family members are available.
Conservatorship vs. Power of Attorney: These are two different ways to provide decision-making support for someone. Power of Attorney is typically less restrictive and can be a better choice if the person still has some decision-making capacity. On the other hand, conservatorship is more comprehensive and may be necessary if the person is unable to make any decisions for themselves.
Limited vs. Full Conservatorship : In some cases, a full conservatorship, which gives the conservator complete control over all decisions, may not be necessary. A limited conservatorship grants the conservator decision-making power over certain areas, while the individual retains their rights in other aspects of their life. The court often prefers this option as it respects the individual’s autonomy to the greatest extent possible.
Professional Fiducuaries: Sometimes, a family member or friend may not be the best choice for a guardian. In these cases, professional fiduciaries can be appointed. They are experienced in managing the complexities of sonservatorships but do charge for their services.
In conclusion, understanding conservatorship and the options available is crucial when planning for the care of a loved one who cannot make decisions on their own. It’s an important decision with far-reaching implications, and it should be made with thoughtful consideration and, ideally, with the guidance of a legal professional. Remember, the primary goal is to protect and care for the well-being of the individual in need.