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Conservatorship Lawyers in Lenoir County Guiding Families Through the Conservatorship Process

If you have a family member who is no longer able to make decisions about their financial, legal, or medical affairs, you may be seeking a conservatorship. Generally, conservatorships are established by the court when someone becomes mentally incapacitated or has intellectual disabilities. A conservatorship is an excellent way to protect your loved one’s assets and health by assigning yourself or someone else to make decisions on their behalf.

Because the conservatorship process can be lengthy and involves going before a judge, consulting with a conservatorship attorney is necessary. At Swindell Law Firm, PC, our team has years of experience representing families who wish to establish a conservatorship for their loved ones. If you have questions or would like to learn more about our services, contact us today at 252-262-1325.

How Does Conservatorship Work?

Conservatorship is designated by the court and is designed to help minors, older adults, or incapacitated individuals. To establish a conservatorship, an individual must first go through a protective proceeding. This proceeding, which happens before a judge, will examine an individual’s ability to make decisions about their health and well-being. If a court decides that an individual is incapacitated and cannot make decisions independently, a conservatorship will be appointed. Conservatorships can manage both financial and personal affairs, including medical and healthcare decisions.

Typically, conservatorships can be either general or limited. In a general conservatorship, the person under the conservatorship (also called the conservatee) has no decision-making authority at all. This means that the conservator will make all decisions related to an individual’s finances, healthcare, housing situation, and more. In a limited conservatorship, the conservatee has the majority of the control over their finances and personal affairs, and the conservator is limited to what the court orders them to oversee. These terms largely depend on the individual’s specific circumstances and the conservator’s requests.

What Are the Different Types of Conservatorship?

There are different types of conservatorships you may wish to pursue depending on your circumstances. Generally speaking, conservatorships differ based on whether they are for an individual, an organization, or a corporation.

Below are the main differences between the types of conservatorship:

Conservatorships for Individuals

A judge may establish a conservatorship for individuals who cannot make sound decisions on their own behalf. This can include a person with physical or intellectual disabilities, someone who is suicidal, or someone who struggles with psychosis or dementia. Elderly individuals, especially those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, may also fall under conservatorship.

For a conservatorship over an individual to be ordered, a professional must determine the individual’s mental capacity. Typically, this is done by a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, or physician. This diagnosis must be documented and verified before being presented to the court.

Conservatorships for Corporations and Organizations

If a company or organization is unable to function, the court may issue a conservatorship assigning control to an individual. Typically, this is done temporarily, meaning the conservatorship will have a set end date. In many cases, a conservatorship for a corporation or organization is taken as a final step to save a business from collapse or financial ruin.

What’s the Difference Between Conservatorship and Guardianship?

Conservatorship and guardianship are sometimes used interchangeably, although they are terms that mean different things. A conservatorship is a court order that allows someone to make financial decisions for an incapacitated person. In most cases, conservators are limited to financial decisions and do not care for or work with a care team to tend to an individual.

A guardianship typically involves appointing someone to care for a minor or person with limited capacity, similar to a parent. A guardian is trusted to make decisions of all kinds in the best interest of an individual, including medical and financial decisions. An individual can be a conservator, a guardian, or both.

What Powers Does a Conservator Have?

In some cases, a conservator will have limited powers as appointed by the court. In a general conservatorship, however, there are some standard powers the conservator will be granted automatically.

As a conservator, you will likely have the power to arrange an individual’s:

  • Housing
  • Meals
  • Healthcare
  • Personal care
  • Transportation
  • Education
  • Housekeeping
  • Recreation

If there are other decisions you wish to make on your loved one’s behalf, reach out to our office today. Our team can assist you in getting a conservatorship to do what’s best for your loved one.

Can a Conservatorship Be Removed?

In most cases, a conservatorship over an individual is permanent unless otherwise stated by the court. However, if the individual feels that the conservatorship is no longer necessary, they may be able to sue to have it removed. The individual must prove to a judge that they are mentally sound and can make financial, medical, and healthcare decisions independently. If you’d like to end a conservatorship, contact our team today for more information.

Should I Hire a Conservatorship Attorney?

Seeing your loved one’s health or mental capacity decline can be a frightening and stressful experience. You always want what’s best for your family members, and in some cases, that may mean taking over their financial and medical decisions to protect their well-being. If you’d like to establish a formal order granting conservatorship to yourself or someone else, consulting with an attorney is the first step.

Our experienced team will walk you through the conservatorship process, answering any questions you have along the way. Whether you’re researching conservatorships, want to establish a conservatorship, or want more information, contact Swindell Law Firm, PC today. Our attorneys will give you a free consultation and address any concerns you may have. Call our office at 252-262-1325.