The court can say you are:
When the court chooses you as a conservator, you are responsible to the court. You take on certain jobs and responsibilities. The court can examine everything you do as a conservator. Talk to a lawyer about this. Click for help finding a lawyer.
It is important that you understand what your duties and responsibilities as a conservator will be. You can get more information in the Judicial Council's Handbook for Conservators. The law says you must have a copy of this handbook.
You can also watch With Heart: Understanding Conservatorship to get general information about the role and responsibilities of a conservator. Please note that although some of the court forms shown on the video may be outdated, the information the video provides is relevant and current.
When the court chooses you as the conservator of a person, this means you:
Remember that being a conservator of the person does not automatically make you the conservator of the estate. If you want to be appointed conservator of the estate, you must petition the court either at the time of your petition to be appointed conservator of the person, or at a later date (by filing another petition, in the same way you did with the initial petition for appointment of conservator of the person).
Understanding Your Duties
Once you are appointed as conservator of the person, you have responsibilities or legal duties. It is very important you understand these duties so that you can carry them out properly.
Figure out what the conservatee needs
You must figure out what the conservatee needs and how to meet those needs.
Decide where the conservatee will live
You can decide where the conservatee will live. But you must choose the least restrictive place. It has to be appropriate, safe, and comfortable for the conservatee. And it has to let the conservatee be as independent as possible.
Get health care for the conservatee
You are responsible for making sure that the conservatee’s health-care needs are taken care of.
You cannot give or deny consent for medical treatment if the conservatee does not agree, unless the court gives you that exclusive right. If the court gives you the power to approve the use of certain very strong medications to treat dementia, make sure the doctors try other, less intrusive treatments first.
Work with the conservator of the estate
If there is a conservator of the estate, you must work together to make sure the conservatee can pay for the care you arrange. The conservator of the estate must approve what you buy for the conservatee, or you may not get your money back.
Duty to Disclose of Spouses and Domestic Partners
If you are married to, or the domestic partner of, the conservatee, you must tell the court about any court action you file that would end or change your marriage, or any act that would end your domestic partnership.
You must tell the court about these events no more than 10 days after they happen. File a notice with the court.
Get help from your lawyer and other resources.
Your lawyer will give you advice about what your job is, the limits of your power, the conservatee’s rights, and how to deal with the court. If you have legal questions, talk to your lawyer.
NOTE: You cannot be sued if the conservatee hurts another person or damages someone’s property, unless you are personally negligent for the damage the conservatee causes.
If you do not have a lawyer, make sure you get help from local community resources in your area. See your Handbook for Conservators and any local supplement that your court may have. Ask the court clerk if your court has a local supplement to the handbook.
The money and property the conservatee owns are called the conservatee’s “estate.”
When the court chooses you to be the conservator of an estate, you must:
Record keeping and accounting
You must keep complete, exact records of every financial transaction that has to do with the estate. Use the checkbook for the conservatorship checking account to keep records of the money that comes in and the expenses you pay.
You will have to prepare an accounting report of:
If the court chooses you as a temporary conservator, you have the same duties and powers that a general conservator has. But the conservatorship will end on the date written in your Letters of Temporary Conservatorship. A temporary conservator acts only until a general conservator is appointed, usually in about 30 to 60 days.
A temporary conservator should not make long-term decisions or changes that can wait for the permanent conservator. The main role of the temporary conservator is to ensure the temporary care, protection, and support of the conservatee. And the temporary conservator of the estate protects the conservatee’s finances and property from any loss or damage until a permanent conservator can take over the management of the estate.
A temporary conservator cannot, without the judge’s approval:
Conservatees do not lose all rights. They can still have a say in important decisions. They have the right to:
In general, conservatees keep the rights to:
Ask your lawyer what rights the conservatee does and does not have. Talk to your lawyer when you have questions.
A conservatorship is usually a permanent arrangement. But, in certain cases, a conservatorship may be ended or the conservator may be changed.
In these cases, you, the conservatee, a relative or friend of the conservatee, or some other interested person can ask the court to end the conservatorship. The court may ask the court investigator to evaluate the case and the conservatee’s condition to see if the conservatorship should be ended. If the judge ends the conservatorship, you will be released from your duties.
If you are removed as conservator, you resign, or the conservatorship ends, you will be released from your duties, but only after you wrap things up and provide the court the needed information or documents to transfer the case to a new conservator or end the conservatorship. If you are a conservator of the estate, you will have to turn in a final accounting.
|Step 1.||You are appointed and qualify as conservator of the person.|
|Step 2.||Obtain your Letters of Conservatorship and use certified copies of these Letters to notify the conservatee’s doctors, health insurers, and other interested parties that you are authorized to act on the conservatee’s behalf.|
|Step 3.||Figure out what help the conservatee needs and draw up a plan for meeting those needs (your plan of conservatorship). The court may require you to file this plan or a status report concerning the conservatee’s present condition and circumstances. Check with your lawyer to see what requirements your court has.|
|Step 4.||Take care of the conservatee’s urgent needs.|
Arrange for the conservatee’s:
• Living situation,
|Step 6.||You will serve as conservator until a judge officially releases you from your duties. This may happen if you resign and the court accepts your resignation, the conservatee dies, a judge replaces you with a new conservator, or a judge decides the conservatee does not need a conservator any longer.|
|Step 1.||You qualify and are appointed conservator of the estate. You may be required to obtain a bond to qualify.|
|Step 2.||Obtain your Letters of Conservatorship and use certified copies of the Letters to notify the conservatee’s banks, creditors, stockbrokers, and others (such as the Social Security Administration or Department of Veterans Affairs) that you are authorized to act on the conservatee’s behalf.|
|Step 3.||Figure out what assets the conservatee owns and locate them. Take immediate steps to protect assets. Consult your lawyer about any urgent steps that may be necessary to prevent loss, such as freezing the assets so that no one but you has access to them. |
Change the conservatee’s mailing address so that financial correspondence and billing comes to you.
|Step 4.||Prepare an Inventory and Appraisal (Form GC-040) of the conservatee’s assets and file it with the court clerk within 90 days after your appointment.|
|Step 5.||Evaluate the conservatee’s financial needs and draw up a plan for meeting those needs (your conservatorship plan).|
|Step 6.||Set up a simple, accurate system for keeping records of conservatorship income and expenditures.|
Protect and manage the conservatee’s finances by:
• Taking control of the conservatee’s assets;
You must file an accounting with the court showing how you handled the conservatee’s income and property within 1 year after your appointment and at least every 2 years after that. (Conservators of small estates may be relieved of this task, but do not assume that unless the court excuses you.)
|Step 9.||You will serve as conservator until you have filed a final accounting and a judge officially discharges you as conservator. This may happen if you resign, the conservatee dies, a judge withdraws your appointment and replaces you with a new conservator, or a judge decides the conservatee does not need a conservator any longer.|