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What Is Conservatorship?

Conservatorship is also known as guardianship, and it refers to the control and regulation of one entity over another. Usually, a conservatorship applies to adults while a guardianship applies to children. However, both terms essentially mean the same thing. A conservatorship or guardianship occurs when a court appoints an individual or entity as conservator or guardian over another, a conservatee, when the latter is unable to handle his or her own financial situation.

A petition for conservatorship is filed in the court jurisdiction wherein the potential conservatee resides. The petitioner may be a relative or a concerned individual, and seeks to better the well being of another. Upon filing a petition, the court may order an investigation to be done in order to ascertain if an individual or entity is unable, whether partly or completely, to handle his or her own finances. This investigation may entail a medical assessment or a testimony from another party that knows the potential conservatee.

If the party under investigation resists conservatorship and contests it, a court trial is then held in order to ascertain whether or not a conservatorship is actually necessary. If the court finds that it is necessary, a letter of authority is issued by the court for the conservator to ascertain his or her rights over the conservatee. Until the court decides that the conservatee is fully capable of handling his or her own finances, the conservator remains in charge. In addition, the conservator is also given a fee as stipulated by the court for the services rendered.

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