A conservator is someone who is appointed to manage a person’s finances because he or she has lost the capacity themselves. Most times, a court hearing takes place to appoint or assign a conservator for someone’s estate. To learn more about becoming a conservator and the duties it entails, call a DC conservatorship lawyer today.
Primary Responsibilies of a Conservator
The primary duties of the conservator often include paying money on behalf of the legally incapacitated person, including paying their living expenses, marshaling all of their assets, paying any other expenses, and filing and paying the tax returns as necessary.
However, a conservator may be appointed with a restricted scope of duty. Generally, the procedure may be similar to a regular conservator proceeding, and lack of capacity to make decisions may still need to be proven. For example, a conservator may be appointed solely to assist in selling real estate. When the court appoints someone to be a conservator, they expect the conservator to manage the assets with the same prudent care that he or she would manage his or her own assets. The conservatorship assets are used and preserved for the best interests of the ward.
Some conservator’s find the preparation of the accounting difficult. The accounting reflects all of the income, gains, losses, expenses and distributions from the conservatorship assets. Often, supporting documentation reflecting every transaction is required. Good recordkeeping is essential throughout the conservatorship. An attorney can assist you with preparing the accounting.
How a Conservator Pays Money on Behalf of Ward
Once a conservator is appointed, a letter of conservatorship is issued by the court and it serves as the official authorization needed to marshal the ward’s accounts. Generally, the conservator will title the ward’s account to reflect the conservatorship proceeding. Good record keeping is important for the conservator so that he or she can prepare and file an accounting with court which reflects all of the income, gains, losses, expenses and distributions from the conservatorship funds.
There is a required annual accounting of all of the income gains, losses, and expenses for the ward’s assets to the court. The accounting is audited by the court, and documentation supporting all of the transactions is often required. Good record keeping in addition to the aid of a DC conservatorship lawyer can help the conservator prepare the accounting.
How a Conservator’s Duties Differ From a Guardian’s
The duties of a conservator include handling the ward’s financial and legal affairs, whereas the guardian handles the care and custody of the ward. The conservator ensures that there’s enough money to pay for incidental needs and the ward’s accounts with the nursing home or living facility.
In the event that the ward’s funds start to deplete, the conservator may also apply for the appropriate public assistance as necessary or as available to the ward. Generally, the conservator is there to ensure that funds are available for the care and support of the ward. The conservator may also be responsible for filing and paying the ward’s taxes and making general management decisions regarding the assets of the ward.
Roles of Conservators v. Guardians
The pleadings required to appoint only a guardian or conservator in DC may differ. However, in both proceedings, the alleged ward’s lack of capacity must be presented to the court. It is possible that an alleged ward may lack the capacity to make financial and legal decisions, but retains the capacity to make health care and living decisions. Each case is different depending on the facts of each individual case, and the unique nature of the ward’s capacity.