Definition of Conservator – A guardian or a protector nominated by the probate court to manage the financial affairs and/or personal affairs and daily life of the conserved person due to physical or mental limitations.
Who Can Be a Conservator?
It may be a single individual, a state official, a non-profit organization, a business, or a legally authorized municipal, with the exception of hospitals or nursing homes. The chosen individual or organization takes care of the financial and/or personal affairs of a conserved person.
During the conservatorship proceedings, a secondary conservator may also be appointed. If the appointed conservator is unable to perform due to personal reasons and resigns, is deemed incapable and removed, or dies, the successor will take his or her place.
Can You Choose Your Own Conservator In Advance of Incapacity?
You can and you should. You can name your own future and backup conservator of the ESTATE in your Durable Power of Attorney documents. A future and backup conservator of the PERSON can be named in your Advance Healthcare Directive documents.
If you ever become unable to manage your own financial and/or personal affairs, the person of your choice will be able to petition the Probate Court to become your conservator. The court would have to legally respect your wishes over the claim of anyone else petitioning for your conservatorship.
Related Post: Conservator Of The Estate Vs. Conservator Of The Person
How Does The Probate Court Choose a Conservator?
If you have designated your own conservator, the court will follow your wishes unless they are unable, unwilling, or deemed unqualified by the court. In the absence of a designation, the court will consider the following factors when choosing a possible conservator:
- Ability to carry out all duties
- Knowledge of the conserved persons’ preferences
- Commitment to maintaining the conserved persons’ independence and welfare
- Potential or existing conflicts of interest
- Costs of the Conservatorship
What If a Suitable Candidate Can’t Be Found?
The Commissioner of Social Services may be appointed conservator of the estate and/or conservator of the person if the respondent meets certain criteria:
- The conserved person must be at least 60 years old
- His or her liquid assets, (excluding burial insurance) are below $1,500 at the time of the appointment
Related Post: Conservatorship In Connecticut – Basic Guidelines
Does a Conservator Get Paid?
A court-appointed conservator can be reimbursed for their services unless they are the domestic partner of the conserved person or are related to him or her by blood or marriage. The Connecticut Probate Court details the fee schedule as well as which activities will or will not be compensated for – in this document.
What Are The Authority Limitations?
Basically, the conservator cannot just do whatever they want. The court assigns only the duties that are the least restrictive means of intervention necessary, to meet the conserved person’s needs. The conserved person may still retain all rights and authority that were not assigned.
A conservator must also follow the conserved person’s preferences and actively encourage the conserved person to participate in decisions. Unless the conserved person cannot express a preference or the preference could cause harm.
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