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Seeking a conservatorship for your relative

If you have elderly or very ill parents or grandparents or other relatives, the time may come when they can no longer care for themselves. Should that unfortunate day come, you might find yourself in the unenviable position of having to determine whether or not to seek a conservatorship for them.

Conservators are appointed by the probate court to oversee an individual's personal affairs or finances. Involuntary conservatorships can be sought when the person's infirmity renders them unable to make rational decisions for themselves.

Voluntary conservatorhips differ in that the person is seeking this assistance themselves because they understand that they are no longer able to manage on their own. As such, there is no finding of incapability as there is with an involuntary conservatorship. In fact, these types of conservatorships are often of short duration and end once the person's malady has been successfully treated and resolved.

You may seek two separate types of conservatorships. "Conservators of the person" oversee an individual's day-to-day personal affairs. They are tasked with making sure someone's most basic needs are met, including:

  • Shelter
  • Food
  • Health care
  • Clothing

Alternatively, "conservators of the estate" oversee someone's financial affairs. Depending on that person's circumstances, that might include include:

  • Overseeing bank accounts
  • Making sure that the person's income and resources are safeguarded
  • Managing their property

Connecticut probate courts usually appoint family members or close friends as conservators. However, a court can also appoint a neutral third party like an estate planning attorney in this role. Connecticut courts typically seek a preference for a conservator for the person for whom the conservatorship is being sought. However, when there is a conflict, they typically appoint a neutral party.

Your estate planning lawyer is a good source of information and advice during the conservatorship process.

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