Conservatorship or guardianship could be necessary in circumstances where someone is incapacitated and needs a trusted person to manage his affairs. A conservator has tremendous responsibility and must fulfill his obligations to the best of his ability in serving the needs of the incapacitated person. Amato Law, PLLC can provide help to those who have been named by the court as conservators. We can also provide assistance with conservatorship proceedings if you need a conservator to be named for someone who is incapacitated.
While conservatorship provides important protections for an incapacitated individual by putting someone in charge of managing that individual’s affairs, it is typically not the best approach to coping with incapacity. It is far better to make an incapacity plan in advance so you do not end up with a conservator making your decisions. Our firm can assist clients in New York in making plans to avoid conservatorship though incapacity planning.
To find out more about how our legal team can assist you, give us a call. We can provide you with personalized advice on a wide variety of issues related to conservatorship and can provide answers to questions you may have about conservatorship including:
- How does conservatorship work?
- How can conservatorship be avoided?
- How can an attorney help with conservatorship in New York?
How Does Conservatorship Work?
When a person has become physically or mentally incapable of making and expressing his or her own decisions, there is a need for someone to manage that person’s affairs. Conservatorship proceedings can be initiated in court to begin the process necessary for a court to appoint a conservator. The conservator will be the one in charge of making decisions for and acting on behalf of the person who is no longer capable of acting on his own accord.
The proceedings will typically involve proving that the incapacitated person is actually incapacitated and thus in need of a conservator to manage his assets and affairs. Once the court has determined that the incapacitated individual is actually of unsound mind and/or unsound body and in need of help, the court will declare the incapacitated person to be a ward.
A conservator or guardian will then be appointed to act on the ward’s behalf. The conservator has a fiduciary duty, which is the highest duty under the law, to act in the ward’s best interests at all time. The court typically remains involved in overseeing actions that a conservator takes to ensure that the conservator is not enriching himself but is instead always looking out for the ward.
How can Conservatorship be Avoided?
Conservatorship makes it possible for a responsible, reliable person to be given authority to manage an incapacitated person’s affairs. It is important that someone have this authority so that assets are not lost and so the right choices can be made to protect a ward.
However, conservatorship isn’t the best way for a person to be chosen to act on behalf of a ward. The best way for a person to be chosen to act on a ward’s behalf is for that ward to decide who will act for him. Of course, this cannot be done once the ward is already incapacitated. It must be done before an illness or injury strikes and leaves a person unable to act on his own.
If you are still healthy and you don’t want to ever have the court appoint a conservator to manage your affairs, you can take steps while you are in good physical and mental condition to avoid conservatorship through incapacity planning.
You can create a power of attorney and other appropriate legal tools to specify your preferences for medical care and to name someone who will be in charge of managing your assets and acting on your behalf. By making plans before something happens to you, you get to be the one to decide who you trust to act for you, rather than a court simply appointing someone who you may not have wanted to take on this role.
How can an Attorney Help with Conservatorship in New York?
Amato Law, PLLC helps with all legal issues related to conservatorship. Whether you want to make an incapacity plan so conservatorship is not necessary, have been named a conservator, or need to go to court so a conservator can be appointed for an incapacitated person, our firm can help you. Give us a call today to find out more about the assistance that we can offer.