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3 things to know about conservatorship

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2023 | Estate planning |

If you or someone you love becomes incapacitated, there may be a need to enlist outside support to help with daily needs. You might suffer a traumatic brain injury in a Georgia car accident or your aging parent might develop dementia or some other neurodegenerative condition. It is in such cases that a conservatorship becomes a valuable tool.  

A conservatorship is often part of the estate planning process. However, it does not necessarily have to be so. It is a legal status that gives someone the authority to make decisions on behalf of another person, whose incapacitation has impeded the ability to act on his or her own behalf.  

A conservator might also act on behalf of a minor 

In addition to incapacitation, you might also become a conservator to manage the financial and personal affairs of a minor. In fact, in some cases, a conservator also acts as legal guardian, either for an adult or a minor. It is a status that you must acquire through court appointment.  

While conservatorship and guardianship are two separate issues, it is correct to say that one person may serve both roles. If you are fulfilling both capacities, you would not only manage the financial and personal affairs of your ward but would provide care for his or her physical needs, as well.  

You may hold a limited or general conservatorship

In cases where a ward is still able to make some decisions in his or her own behalf, you might provide a limited conservatorship. This means that the court would grant you the authority to make certain decisions about certain issues. If, on the other hand, the court appoints you to a general conservatorship, you would have full decision-making authority in all regards.  

How conservatorship differs from power of attorney 

You might be reading this and thinking that there doesn’t seem to be much difference between conservatorship and power of attorney, which also grants someone the authority to make financial or medical decisions on a person’s behalf. The primary difference between these two legal statuses is that you would appoint someone with power of attorney, whereas, the court makes the appointment for a conservatorship. 

Conservatorship over an organization or corporation 

The court may not only appoint a conservator to act on behalf of an individual but may also place one to be in control of an organization or corporation. This is usually on a temporary basis, such as when the Federal Housing Finance Agency had conservatorship over Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to manage their finances during an economic crisis.  

If you believe that you do not need a conservator or are trying to gain conservatorship over someone who believes that it is unnecessary, you may wish to seek guidance before navigating the legal system, as such situations can be complex and highly stressful. The right type of support may help you find a fair and agreeable solution to your problem.