When elderly individuals suffer from debilitating conditions such as dementia and are no longer able to manage their finances and property, a court may appoint a conservator to provide necessary assistance. However, the tenure of a conservator is not indefinite. It can be subject to change as circumstances require.
As such, it is crucial for those involved to recognize the particular situations that can lead to a change in the conservator’s authority or the appointment of a successor.
A conservator may encounter unpredictable personal circumstances that prevent them from further serving their conservatee. In such cases, the conservator must petition the court to be relieved of their responsibilities. Until the court approves this request, the conservator remains fully responsible for the elderly individual they are taking care of.
The potential replacement can be a trusted family member, friend or a professional fiduciary who is prepared to assume the role.
There are times when a conservator might not be fulfilling their duties adequately due to incapacity or neglect. If this happens, the court can initiate a change. The conservatee, relatives or close associates can petition the court to find a new conservator. If the court decides to remove a conservator, it is not as simple as revoking their title. The old conservator must ensure they settle all their duties and seamlessly hand over everything to the new person.
The passing of a conservator
When a conservator dies, the following steps depend on the type of conservatorship. In a general conservatorship, if the conservatee can manage their affairs, the court can appoint a new conservator to serve as a replacement. In a limited conservatorship, the situation is different. Someone close to the conservatee must act on their behalf. A relative or friend should request a new appointment from the court.
If no one takes this step, the conservatorship may end with the conservator’s death.
Prioritizing their well-being
In addition to the circumstances above, conservatees have the right to challenge a conservator they believe is not acting in their best interest. They have the right to voice their concerns and seek court intervention if necessary. Understanding these rights is essential for conservatees and their loved ones. This understanding helps ensure that the chosen conservator remains the best fit for their needs and that their well-being is always the top priority.