South Portland Conservatorship Attorney
We look after our family members out of love. We take all necessary steps to ensure that children have what they require regarding material, emotional, and financial needs. You may need legal permission to make decisions, take care of them, and handle their affairs if a loved one becomes incapacitated. This power may manifest itself as a conservatorship established by the probate court.
A person is deemed incapacitated under Maine probate law if they’re minors or adults who lack the understanding to communicate or make responsible decisions for themselves. If they have a durable power of attorney before becoming incapacitated, that might be all that is required to handle their affairs. A more formal arrangement is necessary, though, sometimes even with a power of attorney.
You would need legal advice regarding the appointment of a conservator. Working with our experienced South Portland conservatorship lawyers is cost-efficient but effective. It could spare your family members a lot of stress and suffering. We provide a no-obligation, free consultation of your estate plan and asset protection measures. What are you waiting for? Contact our law office at Jackson Estate Planning now!
Why do I need Conservatorship Lawyers in Maine?
Creating a conservatorship and selecting the ideal candidate are crucial decisions. You should choose a trustworthy and knowledgeable conservator to make wise decisions on the conservatee’s behalf because they will have the authority to make significant legal decisions on the conservatee’s behalf.
Our knowledgeable conservatorship attorneys offer insightful legal counsel. We will also represent you in court if you want to submit a petition for a conservatorship.
Get in touch with our law firm in South Portland, Maine, right away for the legal service you need regarding this subject.
What is Conservatorship?
A conservatorship is a legal procedure used to designate a manager for someone whose personal care and/or financial affairs they are mentally or physically unable to handle.
A conservatorship restricts the conservatee’s ability to make decisions that will affect their finances or personal care. It transfers that duty from them to the conservator.
The law gives conservators a wide range of rights and obligations. When someone cannot care for themselves or make certain judgments for themselves legally, they can be quite helpful. A conservatorship is in place to protect the proposed conservatee.
What Does the Conservator Do?
A conservator can only legally intervene in a conservatee’s life in the ways that the court permits. The conservator of an estate, for instance, oversees the conservatee’s assets and financial affairs. They make choices involving the conservatee’s assets as well.
The conservator may hold a full conservatorship. The conservator basically shares the same responsibilities and rights toward the conservatee as a parent has toward a child and has the same decision-making authority over the conservatee. Otherwise, they only have partial conservatorship.
What are the types of conservatorship in Maine?
There are various forms of conservatorships available. Each category has particular responsibilities and duties. These may consist of:
Conservatorship of the Person
The individual is given the legal authority to make choices regarding their daily lives by a court. There may be a wide range of duties included here. As a result, the person chosen to serve as the individual’s conservator should be familiar with that person’s needs daily. This can involve choosing things like:
- organizing such special care arrangement
- selecting a residence for the person
- making decisions about one’s health; and
- Arranging for food, personal care, and other necessities.
Conservatorship of the Estate
This type of conservator has the legal authority to handle financial affairs and make financial decisions on behalf of the individual they represent.
The court typically supervises the conservator’s handling of an estate. The conservator must get permission from the court before engaging in certain actions, like buying or selling property. Additionally, the conservator might need to buy a bond to protect the assets of the estate they are in charge of.
A conservator may be designated as either a conservator of the person, a conservator of the estate, or both. It seems reasonable to choose one conservator with the power to manage the estate and the person if both forms of conservatorships are required.
How to appoint a Conservator?
A petition must be submitted to the relevant court to create a conservatorship. That court would be the probate court in Maine. When starting the procedure, it is advisable to speak with a skilled Maine conservatorship lawyer, typically an attorney who handles wills, trusts, and estates. The lawyer would know the appropriate court to file in and the necessary paperwork.
The petitioner must provide evidence of the conservator’s mental capacity for conservatorship. Psychologists, social workers, doctors, and others may be asked to provide documentation regarding the mental health and abilities of the conservatee to do this.
Occasionally, a group of relatives or friends may vie for the position. In this case, the judge applies the state’s legal preferences. The conservatee’s registered domestic partner, spouse, adult siblings, adult children, or other adult blood relations are preferred in Maine. However, a judge may choose another candidate if they believe they would fit the position best.
However, it is doubtful that a nonrelative would be chosen as a conservator if a relative is available unless there is strong proof of what the conservatee would have wished. The judge may appoint a public conservator or another professional conservator if no appropriate relative is available to act as a conservator.
Generally speaking, a conservator will look after a conservatee’s affairs for however long is required. The conservatorship will often stop or expire when the person reaches adulthood or is sufficiently recovered to manage their affairs. The conservatorship of the estate will also expire if the assets under its management are depleted. Finally, a conservatorship typically ends the moment the conservatee passes away.
What Happens If I Decide Not to Have a Conservator Appointed?
In the case brought by the petitioner for a conservatorship, a person who feels that a conservatorship is not required in a particular circumstance may show up to contest the appointment. A conservatorship critic may contend that it is not necessary. Alternatively, the person can argue over who should be the conservator or the kind of conservatorship required in the particular circumstance.
A conservatorship hearing is a court procedure where interested parties can show up, provide testimony, and argue about any topic relevant to the case. The judge decides the matter, renders a decision, and appoints the conservator; no jury is involved. However, interested parties have the right to come and be heard, such as a spouse or adult child.
What is a Typical Conservator Dispute?
A variety of legal disagreements, disputes, and problems may arise as a result of conservators and conservatorships. This is not surprising given the conservator’s extensive legal obligations concerning the conservatee.
Legal issues of several kinds may occur, including:
- A conservator’s improper performance of their obligations
- Instances of the conservator lying or making false statements. For instance, signing paperwork in someone else’s name without that person’s or the court’s consent.
- Using conservatorship funds improperly for the conservator’s benefit
- Disputes about who should be the conservator
- Different infractions of the conservatorship laws
Conservatorship disputes can be complicated. They could include numerous parties and intricate legislation. An award of damages, the removal of the conservator, and other measures are all potential solutions in these situations. For instance, if the conservator misappropriated the funds, they would likely need to reimburse the amount they did so.
If you need help with a conservatorship dispute, call our Maine conservatorship lawyers right away!
How to remove the Conservators?
The person must apply to the court for removal if there is a basis to remove a conservatory. Keep in mind that you need a good explanation; a conservator cannot be fired simply because someone involved doesn’t like them. State law requires the person requesting the removal (the “petitioner”) must be an “interested party.” This refers to a person with whom they are connected or with whom they have an established relationship.
After filing a petition, the petitioner must provide supporting documentation for the removal of the conservator. The matter will be decided by the probate court. The conservator will be fired and a new one appointed if the court decides the petitioner has made a compelling argument and established their case.
If you need to remove a conservator, your best shot is to hire our skilled South Portland conservatorship lawyers. Call us today to learn more!
Advantages and Disadvantages of Conservatorship
Conservatorships are expensive and time-consuming, and they frequently call for continuous legal advice and court appearances. Because the conservator must maintain thorough records and consistently submit court documents, the paperwork can sometimes be a headache.
Conservatorships can be embarrassing. All court hearings and records are public, which may matter for someone who appreciates independence and privacy. Your loved ones must make a highly private subject public for the court to find that you cannot manage your own affairs. Court sessions are public information; in some locations, a notice might be printed in a local newspaper.
The fact that conservators are under judicial oversight offers a strong defense for the property of a disabled adult. Most courts require conservators to provide quarterly reports outlining their activities to prevent them from mishandling the property or taking advantage of the persons they are aiding. Additionally, many courts demand that the conservatory request consent before making significant choices like selling real estate (for a financial conservator) or turning off life support (for a conservator making decisions about health care).
A financial conservator must frequently also post a bond, which serves as an insurance policy to guard the conservatee’s estate from fraud. If the conservator is capable and reliable, paying the bond premiums out of the conservatee’s assets would be unnecessary.
However, occasionally a conservator will handle a conservatee’s assets improperly or make poor decisions on the conservatee’s medical care. Although Maine has laws and regulations to stop such abuses, few have the funds to monitor conservators and take action when they see problems. Many instances of inefficiency or abuse go unreported.
Conservatorships may be avoided with the use of powers of attorney.
Conservatorships can be expensive, tedious, and embarrassing. The situation can worsen and, in some cases, turn violent if relatives quarrel about who will be the conservator. All of this results in rising expenses.
There is no assurance that the conservator appointed by a judge will be the one you would have preferred. Even while the court may strongly examine your desire for a conservator and ask you to voice it, this does not guarantee that your option will be accepted.If a court ever needs to appoint a conservator, you can use the durable power of attorney to designate your attorney-in-fact as the conservator to improve the likelihood that your desires will be carried out.
State law typically specifies a list of priorities for those who should be appointed a conservator if you don’t name one in your power of attorney paperwork. Several states, for instance, prefer the person’s spouse or registered domestic partner as a conservator, then an adult child, parent, and brother or sister. The legislation in many places permits the court to designate someone it decides will represent your interests.
The start of court proceedings often begins with the conservator’s appointment. The conservator often has to:
- Post a bond: this is an insurance policy if the conservator mistreats or steals property.
- Generate thorough financial reports: An attorney or accountant can do it along with the regular submissions to the court.
- Obtain court authorization for some actions: such as selling real estate or making moderately risky investments.
A conservatorship is not always permanent, but only the court has the authority to terminate one.
Take the time to acquire durable power of attorney for finances right away. You can probably avoid the complications of a conservatorship. You grant your attorney-in-fact complete legal ability to manage your financial affairs when you create a durable power of attorney. Only if no one was willing to function as your attorney-in-fact if the attorney-in-fact desired court supervision, or if a close relative believed the attorney-in-fact was not operating in your best interests would a conservatorship case be necessary.
Letting your Attorney-In-Fact choose a Conservator for you
Even though it is extremely unusual, legal action could be taken to invalidate or overturn your durable power of attorney for finances. If your paperwork is declared invalid, a judge will name someone to handle your finances.
If a court must appoint someone to be your conservator, you can propose your attorney-in-fact to do so. Unless there is a strong reason not to, such as if it has been established that your attorney-in-fact is misusing your funds, the court will accept your recommendation.
Your power of attorney agreement will not reference the matter if you do not name your attorney-in-fact to act as the conservator of your estate. In this scenario, the court would decide what will be in your best interests and appoint a conservator without consulting you.
Call our South Portland Conservatorship Lawyer Now!
You might wonder how to protect the best interests of your loved one regarding their health and finances. Consult our trustworthy conservatorship lawyer in South Portland, Maine, who can address your concerns about acting as a conservator for a loved one or hiring a conservator for them.
We will assess your needs, respond to your inquiries, and go over your options during a free estate planning and asset protection strategy consultation offered by Jackson Estate Planning. We can help you with all of your legal needs and provide advice on how to handle them. Get assistance right away by contacting our experienced Maine estate planning attorney!