When someone creates a will, a person may often think of a guardian as the person named to take care of minor children if the testator passes away. While this is true, it is also possible to have someone named as an adult guardian or a “conservator” to take care of adults who are no longer able to take care of themselves. There are a few different kinds of conservatorship. For example, a conservator of a person is someone who is responsible for taking care of someone’s medical decisions, while a conservator of the estate is someone who takes care of financial assets. If you have been named a conservator in someone’s will and you have questions about your duties and responsibilities, you should reach out to an estate planning attorney today.
Who needs a conservator?
It is possible that if a person suspects they will become ill or simply if he or she wants to think of any possibility, they can name someone they trust to be their conservator in the event that something happens to them. This would be an item that a trustor would write down in their will. However, many people do not think to put this in their will and a judge can also name someone as a conservator (or an adult guardian) if a person becomes incapacitated. A few reasons someone may need a conservator are:
- The person is in a coma
- The person suffers from a disease of the mind like Alzheimer’s
- The person came down with a severe illness and cannot make decisions for themselves
- The person was in some type of accident or became injured in some way and cannot make decisions
What kind of safety nets are there with conservators?
If you have never been a conservator before, you may be wondering what kind of safety nets there are. It seems like conservators get a great deal of power very quickly. While this is true, often, the conservator is under strict court supervision. It can be a dangerous situation for someone else to have control over an incapacitated adult’s assets and healthcare decisions, which is why a court will make sure they do not mishandle property or make decisions that go against what the testator would want. In fact, it is not uncommon for conservators to need to seek court supervision before they make huge decisions on behalf of the testator. This could include things like buying or selling property as well as serious healthcare decisions, like taking the testator off of life-support.
If you have been named as someone’s conservator and are unsure of how to handle these responsibilities, a skilled attorney can help you. Reach out to a wills and trusts lawyer, like a wills and trusts lawyer in Sacramento, CA, today.
Thanks to Yee Law Group, PC for their insight into the difference between adult guardians and a conservator.