January 8, 2016

Conservatorship – What you need to know

The appointment of a Conservator is a legal process that is managed by the Probate Court and governed by the laws of the State of Michigan. The appointment of a Conservator is a serious intervention in an individual’s life and results in the loss of their rights to manage their own finances, assets, and property. It should be considered a last resort after less restrictive options have been exhausted. Please see our Money Management Partners service to explore other options offered within our organization.

  • The Court requires a petition to be filed requesting that a Conservator be appointed for the prospective “protected individual.”
  • After the petition is filed, the court usually appoints a Guardian Ad Litem, which is an independent attorney whose job is to be an investigator for the Court and to represent the best interests of the prospective protective individual.
  • The Court process usually requires an investigation be conducted into the prospective protective individual’s financial situation. There are reports and testimonies about that individual’s capabilities and deficiencies in open court.
  • If there is an individual who currently manages the finances for the potential protected individual, the court may require an investigation into their management.
  • Court testimony about the potential protected individual’s capabilities and deficiencies is often required from family, friends, caregivers, and doctors.
  • This process, while necessary to ensure the individual’s rights, is always difficult and usually traumatic for the prospective protected individual and their family.
  • If the Court finds that a conservator is warranted, an appointment is made and the individual is adjudicated to be “an protected individual that is legally incapacitated.” This action limits their legal rights to make decisions regarding their finances, assets, or property. The appointed Conservator is granted the authority to make these decisions for them, preferably with them.
  • The Court monitors Conservatorship appointments and requires annual, or more frequent, reports. At the request of the protected individual, the Guardian Ad Litem, or others. The court may review or change the appointment of a Conservator.
  • The Court may terminate Conservatorship based on evidence that the conditions which required the conservatorship have changed enough so that the protected individual can again manage their own financial affairs.