What Does a Conservator Do?
Sean Michael Peoples, partner at Brown Paindiris & Scott, LLP
A conservator is a person that the Probate Court may appoint to manage either the personal affairs or financial matters of an adult person. The appointment of a conservator may be voluntary or involuntary. A voluntary conservator is appointed when a person files an application with the Probate Court requesting assistance with handling his or her own affairs. The Court will hold a hearing at which the person must be present. The Court may then appoint a conservator. An involuntary conservator is appointed only after the Probate Court determines that a person is mentally incompetent and cannot manage his or her own affairs. The Court will hold a hearing at which the person may be represented by an attorney. Medical evidence may be required to demonstrate the person’s condition and the Court may order a medical examination of the person. The Probate Court must find by clear and convincing evidence that the person is incapable of caring for him or herself. In 2016, the Glastonbury-Hebron Probate Court opened twenty-two (22) new conservatorship files.
Two types of conservatorships exist. A conservator of the person is one who manages the personal affairs of a person by typically ensuring that the person has food, shelter and medical care. A conservator of the person must report annually to the Probate Court on the conserved’s condition. A conservator of the estate is one who manages the assets and legal interests of a person. A conservator of the estate must compile an inventory of the conserved person’s assets within two months of the appointment. The conservator of the estate must also pay the conserved person’s bills.
A conservator need not be a legal professional. Although sometimes a lawyer may serve as conservator, a family member or friend may also serve as a conservator. The Probate Court will take into consideration the preferences of the person being conserved, but can ultimately appoint a conservator that the Court finds would be in the best interests of the conserved individual.
If you have any questions, please contact the Glastonbury-Hebron Probate Court, located at 2143 Main Street in Glastonbury. The Court’s hours of operation are Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Telephone: (860) 652-7629.