Conservator

The term conservator plays a pivotal role that often demands careful consideration and understanding. 

As a legal concept, a conservator serves a crucial function in safeguarding the interests of individuals.

These people may be unable to manage their affairs due to incapacitation or other reasons. 

In this blog, we will delve into the legal aspects of a conservator.

Understanding The Role Of A Conservator

A conservator is an individual who manages the financial and personal affairs.

This will be of someone who is deemed legally incapacitated.

This incapacity may result from mental illness, disability, or advanced age.

These may render the individual unable to make informed decisions or protect their interests.

The conservator assumes a fiduciary duty to act in the incapacitated person’s best interests.

The Inclusion Of A Conservator In A Will

In the context of a last will and testament, an individual may nominate a conservator.

This can also be for a minor child or dependent adult with special needs. 

This nomination can be a critical aspect of comprehensive estate planning.

It allows the testator to designate a trusted individual to step into this role in the event of their incapacity or death.

Key Considerations When Appointing A Conservator In A Will

Some of the key considerations are:

Clear Intent: 

The testator must clearly express their intent to appoint a conservator and specify the powers and responsibilities they wish to grant to the conservator

Clarity is essential to avoid ambiguity or disputes in the future.

Alternates: 

It is advisable to designate alternate conservators if the primary nominee is unable or unwilling to serve when needed. 

This ensures continuity in protecting the interests of the incapacitated individual.

Court Approval: 

It is important to note that the court may need to approve the appointment of a conservator, even if nominated in a will. 

This judicial oversight helps safeguard the incapacitated individual’s rights and ensures the conservator’s suitability.

The Significance Of A Conservator In Estate Planning:

Including a conservator nomination in a will offers peace of mind and a comprehensive approach to estate planning. 

It ensures that trusted individuals are poised to step in and provide the necessary management of financial affairs when needed. 

This not only protects the interests of the incapacitated person but also streamlines the legal process.

Example 1 – The Conservator

Name: Sarah Johnson

Background Scenario: 

Sarah is a single mother with a 6-year-old son named Daniel. Unfortunately, Sarah has been diagnosed with a severe medical condition that requires ongoing treatment and renders her unable to make financial decisions. Concerned about Daniel’s well-being, she creates a will.

Conservator In A Will:

In the will, Sarah appoints her brother, Michael Johnson, as the conservator for Daniel’s financial affairs until he turns 18. Sarah’s will specifies that Michael will have control over Daniel’s inheritance, which includes a trust fund established for his education and future needs. Michael is tasked with managing the trust fund, making financial decisions on Daniel’s behalf, and ensuring he can access the necessary resources for his upbringing.

Example 2 – The Conservator

Name: Robert Anderson

Background Scenario: 

Robert is an elderly widower in his late 80s. He has significant wealth and assets, including multiple properties and a substantial investment portfolio. Over the years, Robert has become increasingly frail and has been diagnosed with advanced dementia, which makes it impossible for him to make sound financial decisions or manage his affairs. Recognizing the importance of properly managing his estate, Robert creates a comprehensive estate plan.

Conservator In A Will:

In his will, he designates his longtime friend and attorney, Susan Carter, as the conservator of his estate. Susan’s role as conservator includes managing Robert’s investments, paying bills, maintaining his properties, and ensuring his medical and long-term care expenses are covered. Robert’s will provides clear instructions on how Susan should handle his financial matters, and it also specifies that she should prioritize his well-being and quality of life during his remaining years.

In both examples, a conservator is appointed in a will to safeguard individuals’ financial interests and well-being.

The appointed conservator takes on the responsibility of managing all the assets.