A conservator is someone who is appointed by the Probate Court to manage the personal and/or financial affairs of an individual who has become incapable of handling such matters. A Conservator of the Person manages an incapable individual's personal needs, such as housing, food, clothing, medical needs and other related matters. A Conservator of the Estate manages an incapable individual's financial affairs and assets so that no "waste" occurs.
There are two categories of conservators: voluntary and involuntary.
Voluntary Conservator of the Person and/or Estate
An individual who has not been deemed by the Probate Court to be legally incapable may petition the Court to appoint a Voluntary Conservator of the Person and/or Estate. For example, a person who suffers from vision loss may need assistance in paying monthly bills. Such a person may want the assistance of a conservator to manage his or her affairs. There are a variety of reasons a person may request a voluntary conservator: for example, an elderly person who requires assistance but does not have immediate family in the local area may need regular assistance with paying bills and managing daily living needs. A person with no surviving family members -- or one with family members he/she does not trust -- may wish to request the services of a conservator.
Involuntary Conservator of the Person and/or Estate
If a person is diagnosed by his/her physician with a memory impairment condition such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease -- or by his/her psychiatrist to be suffering from a mental disorder such as schizophrenia -- the services of a conservator may be required. Under such circumstances, when the individual is incapable of caring for and speaking for himself or herself, a petition for an Involuntary Conservator may be filed with the probate court for the appointment of a conservator of the person and/or estate.
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