A conservatorship is a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization (called the “conservator”) to care for another adult (called the “conservatee”) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances. The probate court can appoint a conservator of the person, a conservator of the estate, or both, depending on the needs of the conservatee.
- A conservator of the person cares for and protects a person when the judge decides that the person cannot do it. The conservator is responsible for making sure that the conservatee has proper food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare. Depending on the conservatee’s ability to understand and make decisions, the conservator may need to make important medical choices for him or her.
- A conservator of the estate handles the conservatee’s financial matters — like paying bills and collecting a person’s income — if the judge decides the conservatee cannot do it.
Being appointed conservator of the person does NOT automatically make that person the conservator of the estate. If someone wants to be a conservator of both, the person and the estate, he or she must petition to be appointed as both. If someone is a conservator of the person and later decides that he or she needs to be appointed as conservator of the estate, he or she can file a new petition for conservatorship and, this time, request to be appointed as conservator of the estate.