Understanding Your Role as a Conservator
The public’s knowledge of conservatorships has increased dramatically over the past couple of years with prominent cases being exploited in the media. Since this is a fairly new concept to most people, they may not be aware of all that goes into it.
Guardianship vs. Conservatorship
First and foremost, it’s important to know that most states make a distinction between guardians and conservators, with each having specific roles:
- Guardian: makes decisions regarding where the person will live, what kind of medical treatment or how care is provided, and protections of the individual.
- Conservator: makes the financial decisions of the protected person’s estate.
Understanding your specific role and responsibilities as a conservator can save both you and the protected person from a significant amount of conflict down the line. However, it’s also crucial to understand the right and wrong way to go about these responsibilities.
More often than not, major financial decisions regarding the protected person’s will, donations, beneficiaries, etcetera have to have prior court approval. However, in some case, investments and business decisions may not require this, so long as the conservator isn't engaging in self-dealing practices or has a conflict of interest or the conservatorship is restricted in some way. As a conservator, your priority should be keeping the best interest of the protected person in mind when making financial decisions.
Where Issues Can Arise
There are several instances in which having a conservator in charge of your business decisions can get complicated. Say the protected person is the head of a company and had not promoted someone else to their role before being under a conservatorship. At that point, depending on the details of the Conservatorship Order, they may no longer able to make decisions regarding the company. This could lead to several issues, as a conservator may not have much or any knowledge of that business and its affairs, and in theory is not even qualified to make those decisions.
On the other hand, if the protected person is a sole proprietor or is in and of themselves is the business (like in Britney Spears’ case for example), the concept of “self interest” may be more prominent. Conservators should avoid trying to make business decisions without having a complete understanding of the values, needs, and goals of the business.
Know Your Rights as a Conservator or Protected Person
If a conservatorship is pending, it’s important to know the rights you have, regardless of who you are in this situation. In these life-changing circumstances, you should have a skilled attorney on your side to help you achieve the best possible outcome. That’s where Law Office of Greg Quimby, P.C. can help. They will review any paperwork you bring them and will assist you in navigating these complicated areas of law.
Our team of attorneys is skilled in finding the right solution for all parties involved and will work with you to obtain the best possible solution. Call (719) 212-4227 to schedule a free initial consultation.