1. What are a Conservator’s duties and responsibilities to the adult or the minor?
A Conservator is appointed by the court to manage and protect the money, property, and business affairs of a person with a disability or incapacity, or a minor child. For an adult, the court can tailor the conservatorship to limit the conservator’s decision making powers to areas where the adult is impaired. A Conservator is required to consider the adult’s expressed desires and personal values in decision-making and act in the adult’s best interest, encourage the adult to participate in decision-making whenever possible, and help the adult develop or regain the capacity to manage his or her own personal affairs if possible.
A Conservator’s financial decision-making powers will vary for an adult and a minor, but generally include the following:
- Collect and manage all the assets of the adult’s or minor’s estate
- Pay bills, make investments, pay taxes, sell tangible property
- Enter into contracts on the adult’s or minor’s behalf
- Oversee real estate or property
- Continue the operation of a business
- Work with the adult or minor’s Guardian to pay for living, medical, & educational needs
2. What are the limits to a Conservator’s decision making powers?
There are many decision making powers a Conservator may have in the daily managing of a person’s financial affairs. However, there are limits to those powers and many types of actions cannot be carried out without first seeking the court’s approval. To read more about a Conservator’s powers and what actions require the court’s permission, consult an attorney or see the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code, G.L. 190B Article Five, Section 5- 423, http://www.mass.gov/courts/courtsandjudges/courts/probateandfamilycourt/articles-1-5-glc-190B.pdf
3. What are a Conservator’s duties and responsibilities to the court?
After a Conservator is appointed, the Court oversees and monitors the conservatorship. Every Conservator has a duty to fill out and submit an Inventory to the court within 90 days of the appointment. The Inventory provides the court with a detailed statement of a protected person’s assets. A Conservator must also file an Accounting annually with the court. In addition, the court may order a Conservator to file a Financial Plan. You can find a blank copy of the Inventory and the Accounting at the Registry office of the Probate and Family Court, or on-line at http://www.mass.gov/courts/courtsandjudges/courts/probateandfamilycourt/upcforms.html