As we age, we often encounter situations which are difficult and may require either an involuntary or voluntary conservatorship. It is common for a senior to have declining faculties. This is a difficult and stressful event for the family. As Mom or Dad has significant problems, it is difficult to encounter and deal with. At some stage, the family may need to step in to help them, preserve their assets and make the right decisions with the help of Legal Sweeney, a conservatorship lawyer you can rely on.
If Mom or Dad becomes unable to manage his/her affairs, the family can often step in on a short term basis with a durable power of attorney and advance directive. However, for the long term, someone should have the power to manage their affairs through an involuntary or voluntary Conservatorship.
A Conservator is appointed by the Probate Court. In some states, a conservator is known as a “guardian”. However in Connecticut the term is “Conservator.” The Court has to find the person is unable to manage his/her affairs. It will then appoint a conservator to handle them.
Unable to Manage Their Affairs
In Connecticut, someone has to present medical evidence at the hearing from at least one physician who has examined the respondent within forty-five days of the hearing. The application has to show specific information surrounding the situation and the effect of the condition on the person’s ability to care for themselves and manage their affairs. Of course, the Court may order its own evaluation. The Court may also consider any other evidence in cases involving either involuntary or voluntary conservatorships.
The Court has a high burden to impose a Conservatorship. It has to find by clear and convincing evidence, that the individual is incapable of caring for himself or herself and unable to manage his or her financial affairs. Additionally, the appointment of a conservator is the least restrictive means of intervention available to assist the respondent in managing his affairs through involuntary or voluntary conservatorships.
There are many factors the Court will consider. These include the person’s abilities, capacity to understand and articulate informed preferences about his or her care or management of his or her affairs.
If Mom or Dad is still competent, they can use a Voluntary Conservatorship. In this proceeding, Mom or Dad would file an application for Voluntary Conservatorship with the Probate Court. Mom or Dad would then choose his/her conservator and the conservatorship can be terminated at any time by the individual upon giving the Court 30 days notice.
Connecticut and New York often have different Conservatorship laws surrounding involuntary and voluntary conservatorships, so it makes a difference if you live in Brookfield or Somers.
FAQ: When Conservatorship is Necessary
Every adult is viewed as being able to handle his or her own affairs, unless an incident arises in which that is no longer possible, at which point either an involuntary or voluntary conservatorship may be necessary. An involuntary or voluntary conservatorship may be established with the help of Legal Sweeney for an adult that has an injury, illness or disease that makes financial decision making nearly impossible. Conservators may be appointed by the court system for those who are developmentally disabled, or become victims in a terrible accident that results in impairments. Family members may want to know more about involuntary or voluntary conservatorships, and in what instances it may be necessary:
What are the steps of establishing a conservatorship?
The appointing of a conservator is a legal proceeding which includes many steps. Adults are who worried about potential future and physical impairments may choose a power of attorney or create a trust, to avoid court action having to be taken. A power of attorney is a person who makes decisions for another if they become unable to. If a power of attorney is not appointed, then it may be up to the court system to establish either an involuntary or voluntary conservatorship.
Why don’t people just appoint a power of attorney then?
Many people may not have created a plan for the event of their incapacitation, simply because it can be difficult to imagine a situation like that unfolding. So instead, a court hearing is scheduled where it is decided whether or not the person who became injured, ill or disabled requires an involuntary or voluntary conservator.
What ages most commonly need a conservator?
Due to the unpredictability of life, any person regardless of adult age can suffer from an accident or become diagnosed with a disabling disease. However, a conservatorship may be more commonly appointed to those who are over the age of 75 years, who have not made prior arrangements regarding who will take over money matters when they are no longer capable. Not every person may require voluntary or involuntary conservatorship in his or her lifetime. With the right combination of genes, healthy living and a little luck, many people may live full lives without requiring such a person to be appointed to handle finances.
Is there ever an instance where family members are not appointed as conversators?
There may be times where family members are incapable or unavailable to serve as conservators. Additionally, there may be a situation where the person does not want any family member to be appointed for such a role. When this happens, there are agencies, nonprofits and professional individuals who can serve in that place when an involuntary or voluntary conservatorship is necessary.
Do I need an attorney in situations that require involuntary or voluntary conservatorships?
In some cases, a family member may want to hire a conservatorship attorney, either to help establish or fight against a certain person being appointed for the role. The conservator should be a person who is responsible and has the best interest of the person who became ill, injured or disabled. If a family member is worried that a potential conservator is not fit for the job, an attorney can be helpful in objecting the decision.
Are you in a situation that may require a conservatorship? Contact Legal Sweeney today for the guidance you need in managing an involuntary or voluntary conservatorship.