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A look at limited conservatorships and the duties of conservators

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2022 | Estate Planning

A limited conservatorship comes into play in response to the needs of an adult with a developmental disability.

What are the types of limited conservatorships and what are the responsibilities of a conservator in such matters?

Limited conservatorship of the person

This is a court process through which a responsible person cares for someone who is developmentally disabled, either mentally or physically. The powers of the conservator only apply to those aspects of life that the court determines the conservatee cannot manage. In most cases, the conservator will arrange for housing, healthcare, personal care, recreation and education and similar needs as the court directs. However, the conservator will not handle money matters.

Limited conservatorship of the estate

In this arrangement, the court permits the conservator to manage the financial affairs of the developmentally disabled person, such as collecting income and paying bills. This type of limited conservatorship is not needed if the potential conservatee has employment or receives Supplemental Security Income or similar government assistance. However, the court may approve a limited conservatorship of the estate if there are assets such as a lawsuit settlement or an inheritance to manage.

Duties of the limited conservator

The orders of appointment and the Letters of Conservatorship provide details concerning the duties of the limited conservator. For example, he or she should help the conservatee engage in education and training to help develop independence and self-reliance. On behalf of the estate, the court enables the limited conservator to invest and sell assets, pay debts and expenses, settle claims against the conservatee, borrow money, and lease, convey or exchange estate properties. A bond is customarily required for a limited conservatorship of the estate. The conservator must also provide the court with an annual accounting concerning the spending of the conservatee’s funds.