A conservatorship is a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization (called the “conservator”) to care for another adult (called the “conservatee”) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances.
Probate conservatorships are the most common type of conservatorship. Probate conservatorships can be:
- General Conservatorships — conservatorships of adults who cannot take care of themselves or their finances. These conservatees are often elderly people, but can also be younger people who have been seriously impaired, like in a car accident, for example.
- Limited Conservatorships — conservatorships of adults with developmental disabilities who cannot fully care for themselves or their finances. Conservatees in limited conservatorships do not need the higher level of care or help that conservatees in general conservatorships need.
There are a number of people who can file for a conservatorship:
- The spouse or domestic partner of the proposed conservatee;
- A relative of the proposed conservatee;
- Any interested state or local entity or agency;
- Any other interested person or friend of the proposed conservatee; and
- The proposed conservatee, himself or herself.
In appointing a conservator, the court is guided by the best interests of the conservatee. If the proposed conservatee has nominated someone (and the proposed conservatee has the mental and physical ability to express his or her preference), the court will appoint that person as conservator unless it is NOT in the proposed conservatee’s best interests.