Skillern Law Firm, PLLC offers legal services for conservatorship proceedings. Conservatorship proceedings are similar to Guardianship proceedings, in that it gives one person or people the rights over another people’s dealings. A conservatorship is a legal proceeding where a judge appoints a person or organization (the “conservator”) to care for another adult/child’s (the “conservatee”) finances if they become incapacitated or are a minor.
For example, if your grandmother did not get a Durable Power of Attorney drafted, and then she gets Alzheimer where she is completely disabled in her mental and physical capabilities, then whoever needs to take over her finances to pay her bills, organize her portfolio, and pay the assisted living center would need to get a conservatorship via a court proceeding to be able to do so. Another example is where an elderly grandmother put her grandchildren as beneficiaries on life insurance, and when she passes away they are all minors. A bank or institution usually requires a court proceeding of conservatorship for the parent or person who could use the money to take care of the children before they will release the money to the person. Otherwise, the institution would hold onto the money until the child/children turns eighteen (18), which could be a long time for some situations. (This is another reason why you should not designate minor beneficiaries on any of your accounts!)
The best way to avoid this problem is to get a Durable Power of Attorney. It’s a simple, and relatively cheap document that prevents the need of conservatorship proceeding (which is A LOT more expensive). Please read an earlier post by Skillern Law Firm that deals with Power of Attorneys here. I reiterate – a Power of Attorney is a very important document to have in your estate planning portfolio. If you or a friend did not get one, however, and you become incapacitated to deal with you health or financial needs, the courts have guardianship and conservatorship proceedings that your family and friends can go through. Please contact Skillern Law Firm, PLLC today to discuss your estate planning needs!