A Conservator is a court-appointed individual who manages the financial affairs on behalf of a protected person. This protected person could be a minor, a developmentally delayed individual who doesn't have the capacity to manage his/her own affairs, or someone who has suffered an injury or illness that makes it impossible to manage finances. In our case, it is often the last case: someone incapacitated by illness or injury.
If this protected person has not named a legal agent, the court must name one. Unfortunately, even in the best of cases, this is not an easy or fast process. Often, it involved up to four attorneys and the conservatorship is subject to the continuing jurisdiction of the court. What does that mean in real life? It means that within 90 days of being appointed the conservator, the individual must submit an inventory of assets to the court. THEN, annually, the conservator must file accountings of the assets for court approval.
Where we often have issues for our clients is trying to put any plan into place for assets or long-term care. For example, any VA or Medicaid planning becomes three to four times harder, expensive, and/or time-consuming. Since the techniques that we use to help people qualify for these benefits all lie outside the legal jurisdiction of the conservator, we have to go back to court to get permission. Any time there's a hearing, that means more attorney time, more time in court, and more hassle. What usually ends up happening is having to spend every dime so that the protected person can qualify for benefits.
This can be completely avoided!
Conservatorship is a government default. If you have put plans in place of your own design before you become incapacitated, you'll have much more control over the situation... even if you're the protected person. When you make the plan, you name your agent. You pick who you trust to make decisions for your assets and finances. And if you complete a Legal Life Plan, you'll have control over everything else as well. If you leave it all up to the government, you'll get the conservator they name for you. Yikes.
Want to learn more? Want to get started on a plan that has your best interests and preferences at its core? Contact our office today, we can help.