Becoming a conservator of anyone is not as easy as it sounds. In fact, the process of conservatorship can take a lot of time. It needs several documentations, as well. Such a guardianship is viable when the conservatee in question has no longer been able to take care of himself/ herself, and when legally, there is no one to look after. So whoever asks the court to assign a conservator, he should ensure that the conservatee actually needs one
Starting the Process
When it comes to conservatorship, each state has its own sets of rules to follow. By and large, it begins with the person who petitions. She/he would go the court and have the person to be looked after. The judge will commission a panel of experts to satisfy that the proposed conservatee is truly physically incompetent, and even ask the latter if he is sensing what is being discussed. The proposed conservator can be anyone from a domestic partner, a friend, a relative, a local or a state agency, or an employee of that agency, an interested person, or a public officer. Once the judge agrees, the paperwork starts. However, even then, the judge can ask if the conservator is fit enough if the conservatee would still prefer making their own decisions.
Finalizing the Petition
Once the paperwork is over, the court would decide whether the proposed conservator is fit for assuming guardianship. If more than one person asks for guardianship, then the court will have the final say about the best-suited conservator. However, a family member or a spouse is given preference. In case no one steps up to help the elderly person in need, the court will have the right to appoint a public guardian or a professional to this responsibility. In that case, the appointed public guardian would receive compensation from the fund that the individual’s estate releases. However, if a friend or a relative assumes the charge, no compensation is generally given. If the members of the family agree decides on who becomes the guardian, the process becomes easy and cost-effective. In case of disagreements, the process can be lengthy, complicated and costly.
Before The Final Verdict
Unless the proposed conservatee is completely bedridden or severely ill, he or she would need to attend the hearing. This is a vital stage in the conservatorship process. The judge will decide whether everyone concerned in the process has been duly notified. He would also determine whether the proposed conservatee would need a lawyer to his/her aid. If the judge grants conservatorship, he/she will issue an order to appoint a conservator. In case there is an estate, then a surety bond needs to be filed.
When the Judge Grants Conservatorship
Once appointed, the conservator needs to have a copy of Handbook for Conservators from the court. Also, he or she would need to attend the workshops and trainings for conservators that the court arranges for. The concerned conservator will have to report to the court regularly to submit reviews, as well as meet the court investigator.