What Is a Conservatorship?
When someone is unable to care for himself due to physical or mental disability, a court can grant a conservator to be responsible for physical care or finances. Generally, the court prefers that a spouse or family member be named as conservator, however, if no one is available, the state becomes guardian.
Often when an older adult is diagnosed with a progressive physical or mental problem, the patient and his or her family decide on who is best to serve as the eventual conservator. An estate attorney can help draw up the necessary documents so that when the time comes to grant the conservatorship, the process is easy.
There are several options for a conservatorships, however the need for care can be divided between physical and financial challenges. For physical care, the patient and the family seek a conservatorship of the person. For financial care, the judge would grant a conservatorship of the estate.
The process for having a judge approve a conservatorship can take a significant amount of time. Generally, the family has to petition the court, undergo an investigation, and stand in front of a judge. If you or a family member is suffering from deteriorating physical or mental health, start now to ensure the conservatorship process is completed ahead of need.