Estate Planning and Conservatorship

Estate Planning Attorneys

If you have been appointed by a judge as someone’s conservator, you may be wondering exactly what it is you are supposed to do. Typically, a probate judge will name a person as a conservator when they are supposed to help certain people (conservatees) manage their finances. One of the most common examples of this is for parents who pass away. If a parent creates their will and labels you as their child’s conservator, that means that if the parents pass away, it is your job to manage the child’s financial affairs/property if the child is still a minor. In addition, if someone suffers from some kind of disability, they may also have a conservator who can help manage their financial affairs. You may be wondering what all this entails, which is why it is important to get the help of Memphis, TN estate planning attorneys like one from Patterson Bray.

What is a conservator entitled to do?

It is very important to first know what a conservator cannot do. For example, while conservators do have a great deal of power when it comes to making decisions on behalf of their conservatee, they cannot make changes to a will or create a brand new will or a conservatee even if the conservatee has a serious disability. In very rare cases, a probate court may allow a conservator to make changes to a conservatee’s will, though the process for this is long and the conservator will need permission from any person involved in the changes. 

What else should I know about being a conservator?

The conservator should always consider their decisions carefully and make choices that are in the best interest of the conservatee. For example, if there is a financial decision that could positively impact the conservatee, most states have rules that allow the conservator to make such decisions if they believe it is in the conservatee’s best interest. 

What if a conservator believes the conservatee was pressured when writing the will?

The law takes these kinds of situations very seriously. A conservator (or anyone else named in the will or close with the testator of the will) can bring forth a claim stating they believe that the conservatee was wrongly pressured or was coerced into making certain choices when they created their will. It is important that you work with your attorney to have the evidence necessary if you believe this is the case as it can potentially change important aspects of the will. 

If you were named as a conservator and have questions, please reach out to an estate planning attorney now.