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My (Insert Relative Name Here) Needs a Conservator, But I Don’t Want It To Be Me – What Do I Do?

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2023 | Firm News

I see this issue come up often in my practice where a conservatorship is needed for someone, but the people who have priority to be appointed do not want to act or even petition for a conservatorship.  If there is no family member or friend willing to act as conservator, then the best option is having a professional fiduciary appointed.

In a recent matter of mine, I represent a family member who would have priority to be appointed conservator over someone, but they do not want to do it for multiple valid reasons.  Because the person who needs to be conserved has assets, I encouraged my client to meet with several professional fiduciaries in the area to see if one of them would be willing to handle the conservatorship.  This was a great option in this matter because the professional fiduciary is a neutral third party who has experience dealing with the specific needs of the proposed conservatee and it allows the family members to just be family members and not in control of the person or their assets.  It also gives my client a comfort level that a professional will be managing their family member’s assets.  And, that professional is subject to court oversight so my client can monitor it as well.

If the proposed conservatee did not have assets, it may be more difficult to find a professional fiduciary to act because there would be no funds to pay their fees for the services that they provide.  In the situation where there are no assets, then the family member could reach out to the public guardian/conservator in the county where the proposed conservatee resides. It is my experience that the public guardian/conservator is rather selective on which cases it will take on.

If a family member, a professional fiduciary, or the public guardian/conservator does not want to act as conservator, then a nonprofit charitable organization should be considered.

After figuring out who will be the proposed conservator, then who will be the petitioner? The list of who has priority to be appointed conservator is the same as who can petition for the appointment of a conservator.   In the matter mentioned above, my client does not want their name to show up at all in the initial filings, so we are asking that the professional fiduciary be the petitioner.  Again, because the proposed conservator has assets, then is more likely to be something that a private fiduciary is willing to do.