By Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C. ~
The purpose for appointing a conservator is to protect a person’s property from mismanagement or dissipation. The Court may appoint a conservator, upon petition and after notice and hearing, when it finds that someone has money or property that they cannot manage. A conservator is appointed by the courts to assist another with their financial affairs. The person who needs help with their financial affairs is called the protected person. The person seeking appointment as a conservator must be someone interested in the welfare of the person to be protected or someone who would be adversely affected by lack of effective management of property of the protected person. To be appointed as a conservator, you must file a petition with the court. Interested persons must be notified of the petition. Interested persons are generally a spouse, adult children, other adults who have been responsible for the care and custody of the protected person, the protected person’s doctor and people who have authority to act for the protected person such as agents under a financial power of attorney. The petition must include a letter from the protected person’s doctor that indicates that a conservator is necessary. In addition, the petitioner must file an Acceptance Of Office form and attach his or her driver’s license, a criminal history check and a credit report. The court then appoints a visitor to investigate and report to the court whether a conservator is necessary and if the person petitioning the court for appointment is a suitable person to be appointed. After all this documentation is filed with the court, the court holds a hearing where the protected person must be present. It is the responsibility of the petitioner to have the protected person present in court for the hearing, unless there is good cause to excuse the protected person. The protected person has the right to object to the appointment of a conservator and they have the right to their own attorney. If the court decides that it is in the best interest of the protected person to appoint a conservator, it then makes an appointment and issues Letters of Conservatorship and an Order. The Order will require the conservator to file annual reports with the court.A conservator may receive the protected person’s income and pay his or her bills. A conservator holds title as a trustee to all real and personal property that is owned by the protected person. The conservator has specific duties to properly manage and invest the property of the protected person. The conservator must never commingle the protected persons’ property with their own property. Unless good cause is shown, the court will require the conservator to post a bond to ensure their performance. A conservator must propose a financial plan within three months of appointment describing how the protected person’s assets will be invested and applied for their best interest. The financial plan is like a budget, which is approved by the court and updated as necessary. An annual Conservator’s report is also required showing the changes in income, expenses and assets.
The appointment of a conservator is terminated by the death of the protected person, death of the conservator or order of the court. A conservator must transfer any money owned by the protected person at his or her death to the protected person’s estate and a final accounting must be rendered.
This article was written by Tamra K Waltemath of Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C. This information is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific questions, you should consult a qualified attorney. Tamra K. Waltemath is an elder law attorney focusing on wills, trusts, estate and trust administration, probate and non-probate transfers, guardianships and conservatorships. She can be contacted at: Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C., 3843 West 73rd Avenue, Westminster, CO 80030; 303-657-0360; or visit her website at: www.WaltemathLawOffice.com.