A conservator is appointed by the courts to help protect an individual who has been determined to be incapacitated and unable to manage his or her finances. A guardian is appointed by the court to manage the health and physical decisions for an incapacitated person. Those incapacitated persons are referred to as wards or protected persons.
By their very nature, guardians and conservators have different roles they fill.
For example, a guardian is responsible for a ward’s personal and medical needs, while a conservator is in charge of the incapacitated individual’s finances.
But in general, a conservator typically would be asked to:
- Oversee a ward’s real estate and tangible personal property, determining whether they should be bought, held or sold
- Be placed in charge of investments in liquid assets (either by doing it themselves or by hiring a financial adviser)
- Manage bank accounts to handle monthly bill payments
- File a ward’s tax returns
- Prepare their own annual accounting of actions which detail how assets were bought, sold or invested on behalf of the ward from the year prior
- File appropriate forms with the state regarding a ward’s financial dealings
- Receive court approval for certain duties as well as terminate their conservatorship at any time
It’s also important to consult with a lawyer if you yourself have been asked to serve as a conservator. This ensures a better understanding of all the responsibilities listed above.
Additionally, the conservator may be removed if the courts determine that:
- Too many individuals have been named as decision-makers, causing major conflicts
- The conservator has not been acting in the best interest of the ward
- Financial hardships arise as a direct result of the conservator’s poor decision making or failure to fulfill their financial responsibilities
- The decision-maker has not been acting in a timely manner
In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one should become incapacitated, we here at Brown & Crona understand the many difficulties that can arise as result of this.
It’s not an easy conversation to have, we know. We hope to at least make life a little easier by preparing you fully for that If day.
Creating plans for wills, trusts and finances should be placed in the hands of experienced attorneys with a deep understanding of Colorado law.
We are those attorneys and we are here to help you.
To learn more about estate planning and conservatorships in Denver, contact Brown & Crona, LLC to arrange an appointment: (303) 339-3750 or visit our website.