The Duties of a Conservator

When someone experiences impaired cognitive functioning, it can interfere with multiple aspects of their lives.  One area that this can have a particularly destructive impact on is their finances.  In some cases, the individual’s condition may be so severe as to warrant legal intervention to protect their funds and property.  In such a situation, the probate court can appoint a conservator to manage the person’s financial interest.

What is a Conservator?

Michigan law provides that when a person becomes incapacitated, a concerned individual may petition the probate court to appoint a conservator to manage their financial affairs.   The conservatorship is a legal relationship between the conservator and the person with an impairment or “ward.”  Someone appointed in this role will have the authority to manage the ward’s daily finances, assets, property and business interest.

Duties of a Conservator

As the conservator is serving in a legal role, the law imposes certain obligations on them.  Generally, the conservator must inventory, safeguard, and, if applicable, manage the ward’s investment interest.  An important duty of a conservator is that of loyalty to the ward.  The conservator is prohibited from using any of the ward’s asset for their own personal benefit and owe a fiduciary duty which means they must protect the ward’s finances and assets.  The law also requires that the conservator provide a detailed annual accounting as well as an inventory of the ward’s assets and estate to the court. They must also keep specific records which the court or another interested party may request. The conservator must also use the ward’s property for the ward’s benefit or that of their dependents and distribute funds as necessary to support, the education, care, or benefit of the ward under certain circumstances.

If your loved one’s estate is in conservatorship, it is essential to understand the process and the conservator’s responsibilities.  Our office has knowledge about and experience with conservatorships and can help you understand this process.  Please contact us online or by phone if we may be of assistance.

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