When a loved one is aging or battling an illness and needs additional help, Colorado law provides numerous legal avenues for support. Among these options is conservatorship, a role that requires appointment by the courts.
A conservator is, broadly speaking, legally responsible for handling the financial affairs of an individual who is unable to do so themselves. Oftentimes this protected person is an adult with an impairment or incapacitation. While conservatorship can be a helpful tool, it is vital that an individual taking on this role knows exactly what is being asked of them.
Key administrative responsibilities
The role of conservator is not one you should commit to without giving it proper thought. There are some crucial administrative responsibilities that require time and effort, both regularly and in bursts. These responsibilities can be broken down into five broad categories:
- Financial reports: A conservator, shortly after taking on their duties and annually after that, must prepare financial reports detailing the protected person’s assets, how they will be managed, and all applicable transactions
- Full accounting: A conservator must keep detailed financial records indicating all income, disbursements and liabilities, with documents to back up these figures
- Filing taxes: A protected person will likely still have tax obligations, and a conservator must ensure an accurate return is filed
- Management of assets: A conservator will often be tasked with managing the assets in a conservatorship’s estate, all while adhering to the “prudent investor rule”
- Overseeing payments: A conservator must manage and oversee distributions, both to the protected person or to other parties on their behalf
Keep in mind, the court may limit a conservator’s duties based on the circumstances of the situation.
Proceeding fully prepared
None of this information is meant to dissuade you from accepting a conservator role, particularly if it is an area in which you believe you can help a loved one. Rather, it is a reminder to do your due diligence.
Conservatorship duties necessitate you make a real commitment. You could be held personally liable for any negligent behavior, even if it can be chalked up to an honest mistake. Taking the time to understand your exact duties as laid out in the relevant legal documents can help ensure you are not only protected, but able to serve in this role in a truly worthwhile manner.