Conservatorship is a court-approved and court supervised legal relationship between a competent adult (known as a conservator or guardian) and an adult who needs assistance in decision-making. The person who needs assistance is referred to as a Ward in legal documents.

 An individual with intellectual or developmental disabilities may need a conservator if:

 He/She does not understand how to manage finances.

 He/She needs medical care or other services that will not be provided unless there is a clear understanding about the person’s legal capacity to consent.

 He/She is making decisions which greatly endanger him/herself or others.

 He/She has not executed a Durable Power of Attorney that allows others to act on His/Her behalf.

Conservatorship is sometimes described as conservator of the person or conservator of the estate.

In conservatorship of the person, the individual needs a conservator to decide personal issues. These decisions may include where to live, consent for medical treatment, work, travel and other areas.

A conservator of the estate usually has power over the individual’s finances, including income or assets, not the individual’s personal matters. The conservatorship is based on the person’s inability to manage assets or property.

Each state has its own legal procedures or processes in determining the need for a conservatorship. There is no uniform national conservatorship law. The process will generally include filing a petition with the appropriate court, review of the petition by the court, notice to applicable parties, a court hearing, and entry by the court of an order of conservatorship. The conservator will be required to provide an inventory of the ward’s assets and report the assets to the court. When the ward has assets that must be maintained, the conservator may obtain authority from the court to manage and control the ward’s assets.

A conservator may file a petition to mortgage the ward’s real estate and provide the court with the reasons for the mortgage. After appropriate notice and hearings, the court may enter an order authorizing the conservator to mortgage the real estate owned by the ward and described in the petition. If granted, the order will provide that the conservator has the authority to execute any necessary mortgage documents on the Wards behalf.

 If a conservator is appointed, a copy of the court order must be provided to the title company. Careful attention should be paid to the contents of the order as the title company will rely on the terms of the order to approve the real estate transaction. The title company will generally require a certified copy of the court order and will record the certified copy as an exhibit to any mortgage(s).

Disclaimer: The above is for informational purposes only. The Company assumes no legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy.