November 2012 – Conservatorship

Conservatorship for a Minor Child: A common situation of a conservatorship for a minor child is when the child is involved in an automobile accident and is entitled to receive money. In most instances, the insurance company will not pay money to a minor and a conservator will have to be appointed. When the minor child reaches the age of 18, he/she is entitled to receive the money that was subject to the conservatorship. Conservatorship for an Adult: If an adult becomes incapacitated, i.e. unable to manage his/her finances, there are two options. If he/she has already signed a financial power of attorney, the person named will take over managing the money; otherwise someone will have to file a petition with the Court to be appointed as the conservator. The financial power of attorney is far less costly than obtaining a conservatorship and it allows for the private handling of the assets. The conservatorship will last until the person dies and the remaining assets will then be distributed pursuant to their Estate Plan or Arizona law. Procedure: To become a conservator a person must file a petition with the Court. Once appointed they are legally allowed to manage the money for the minor or adult (commonly known as the ward or protected person). If the conservator chooses to have the money unrestricted (meaning he/she can utilize the money for the ward’s needs, the conservator will have to post a bond in the amount of the unrestricted funds. If the conservator chooses to restrict the funds (meaning that the money cannot be accessed without a prior Court order), no bond will be required.

The conservator is also Attorney Spotlight required to file an inventory of the ward’s assets, a budget showing how the ward’s monies will be spent, and file an annual accounting for approval by the Court each and every year.