If an adult who is mentally incapacitated, or suffer from comas, Alzheimer’s disease, or other serious illness or injuries, and cannot make his/her own decisions regarding his/her assets or health care, a person close to him/her may need to apply to the mental court for a conservatorship appointment.
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.
Conservators have court-ordered authority and responsibility to manage the affairs of those who can no longer make their own decisions about finances or health care. If a court appoints someone to take care of financial matters, that person is usually called a "conservator of the estate," while a person in charge of medical and personal decisions is a "conservator of the person." An incapacitated person may need just one type of representative, or both. The same person can be appointed to take both jobs. Both types of conservators are supervised by and held accountable to a court. The incapacitated person is called a “conservatee.” The court will normally also appointed an attorney to act in the interest of the conservatee.
Conservatorship process could become time consuming and expensive. If the incapacitated person planned ahead and signed durable powers of attorney for finances and health care, that person won't need a conservator because the person named in those documents can take charge. However, if no planning has been done -- a common situation -- then family members must ask a court to appoint a conservator or guardian.
This is just a general overview of the conservatorship. To answer your specific questions, please call our offices for a free consultation.