Challenges to ConservatorshipWhen a person is no longer able to govern their financial interest effectively, it may be necessary for a loved one or other concerned party to ask a court to appoint a conservator to make financial decisions on their behalf.  However, in some circumstances, the person may disagree with this appointment.  Here are some important facts about challenges to conservatorship:

What is a conservator?

A conservator is a person appointed by the probate court to be responsible for safeguarding and managing another person’s financial interest.  Conservators can handle minor decisions such as paying the person’s bills as well as larger ones like directing their business and investment affairs.

The Conservator Appointment Process

  • First, someone files a petition with the probate court claiming that an impaired person needs a conservator. The filer can be any concerned individual including someone who may be negatively impacted by the person’s ill management of their financial or business interest.
  • The probate court will then typically investigate the allegations in the petition and determine if the individual should be appointed counsel.
  • If the individual disagrees with the conservatorship they may hire an attorney or the court will appoint one to represent them.
  • A court-appointed physician may also be asked to perform a competency evaluation of the individual and report their findings. The individual may also pay for their own examination with their chosen provider.
  • If the individual still disagrees with the conservatorship, the court will schedule a hearing during which the parties will put on evidence for and against their case. The court will consider information regarding the individual’s mental fitness and how it pertains to their physical and mental health.
  • The court must also consider the past and potential waste of the individual’s assets and the support and care of the person as well as others entitled to support from their funds.
  • The court will then make a decision regarding the necessity of the guardianship.

Contesting conservatorship will be a matter of proving that the individual is competent to manage their own financial interest.  Evidence such as competency evaluations, medical records, and witness testimony can help provide support for each side’s position.  Having an experienced attorney during this process is vital to the presentation and success of your case.

When a loved one is facing conservatorship, it is important to understand the process and how to portray your case successfully.  Our office has experience with conservatorships and can help you understand this process and adequately prepare your case.  Please contact us online or by phone if we may be of assistance.

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