We all want the people we love to be vibrant and full of energy for as long as possible. However, as people age and lose the ability to care for themselves, they might need help. Fortunately, Colorado laws provide several legal avenues for this – among these is conservatorship.
Basically, a conservator is a court-appointed individual or entity that is responsible for handling the ward’s financial affairs. Conservatorship can be a very helpful designation when your aging parent battling an impairment or incapacitation. However, to serve its intended purpose, the individual taking up this role should know exactly what they are signing up for:
Why conservatorship may be necessary
A conservator is appointed when an aging adult is having difficulty making independent decisions, communicating or processing information. This can be the result of health conditions like dementia or other degenerating illness.
In Colorado, the conservatorship role can be assumed by an individual or an institution. To be named a conservator, an individual must be at least 21 years old.
So what are the responsibilities of a conservator?
Depending on the ward’s specific situation, the conservator will perform the following roles:
- Compiling an inventory of the ward’s assets for submission to the court
- Periodically updating the ward’s assets with the court
- Ensuring that the ward’s valuable assets are duly insured (property, healthcare and life insurance)
- Signing legal documents such as sales and purchase contracts on behalf of the ward
- Paying the ward’s taxes, bills as well as debts.
- Keeping clear financial records on behalf of the ward
- Collecting income on behalf of the ward
No one likes the idea of seeing their parents lose their independence due to age-related complications. However, when this happens, you have to make tough choices. You may want to find out how you can designate a conservator to take care of your aging parent’s financial affairs.