A “Conservator,” on the other hand, is responsible for managing the Ward’s property, assets, and finances. The Ward’s Conservator is responsible for providing an accurate annual accounting to the Court of all finances and any distribution of assets.
Court-appointed legal representation is required for the Ward. Usually, the proposed Guardian/Conservator hires his/her own attorney as well. The Court will require an initial hearing and annual reports.
Guardianships and conservatorships can usually be avoided if a Trust is firmly in place before a person becomes incapacitated. (See “Trusts.”)
If a Conservator is appointed, the Conservator must provide the Court with an annual accounting as to what has been done with the assets. Many of the Ward’s expenditures have to be approved by the Court prior to spending money or selling assets. Each request may require a Court hearing. Once a diagnosis of dementia or related incapacity is given, a Conservatorship will often be necessary. At this point, it is too late to get a Power of Attorney or a Trust.