I was appointed conservator. Can I hire an attorney to represent me out of the wards assets?
I am a NY attorney and cannot advise you as to your state's laws, but I can provide certain general information that may be helpful to you. First, you do not indicate why, precisely, you need representation. The answer to your question may turn on the answer to that question. If, for example, you were sued in your capacity as conservator, the answer may be in the affirmative.
In NY, where I practice, the powers of the conservator (in NY we now use the term "guardian," rather than "conservator") are specifically set forth in the judgment appointing the guardian. In many cases, the judgment permits the guardian to engage counsel. Even when that is permitted, however, court approval is usually required to actually make payment to an attorney.
I imagine that you were represented by counsel in the conservatorship proceeding. If that is the case, you would do well to direct your inquiries to the attorney who represented you in that proceeding.
Good luck to you.
Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.
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I disagree with my colleague. I know of no state that requires you to pay for your own attorney, as Conservator. You are entitled to legal representation, and you are not required to pay for this out of your own pocket. Furthermore, you have potential personal liability if you do something wrong, acting as conservator, so you really NEED to have a lawyer represent you. Seek advice from a probate attorney in your area. If you do not know of one, you can use the "find a lawyer" link below.
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