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What is a conservatorship and how does it work?

A few weeks ago, we wrote about guardianships and how they play into a person's later years and, indeed, their estate. There is also something called a "conservatorship" which functions in practically the same way as a guardianship. Depending on which state you live in, the duties and function of these two legal processes could be the same, or just slightly different.

There are two types of conservatorships. One is called the "conservatorship of the estate," and the other is called the "conservatorship of the person." In both cases, the conservatorship takes responsibilities away from the "conservatee" (i.e. the person who's estate or life is in question) and given to the "conservator." In both cases, a court will appoint the conservator.

In the case of a conservatorship of the estate, a court will determine that the conservatee is "substantially" unable to perform financial duties relating to his or her situation without fraud or undue influence becoming involved. Under this conservatorship, the conservator would gain the responsibility of managing the conservatee's estate.

In the case of a conservatorship of the person, the situation is very similar. A court will decide that the conservatee is unable to manage his or her personal well-being or health and, as a result, a conservator is needed. The conservator is then responsible for the conservatee's care and custody.

Depending on the situation and depending on the rules that apply, a conservatorship can actually be a very beneficial process for not only the conservatee but the conservatee's family.

Source: FindLaw, "Conservatorships," Accessed Nov. 4, 2015

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