to Protect Your Aging Parent
your parents grow old can be a very bittersweet and sometimes painful
emotional process. It can also become a time-consuming process as our
aging parents need our help more and more. Most of us are busy working to
support our own families and are left with very little time to take care
of our aging parents.
pamphlet will explain what a CONSERVATORSHIP is and how it can help you to
protect your aging parent (or any other elderly relative or friend who
is a legal device designed to protect adults who can no longer take care
of themselves or manage their money. A conservator is appointed by the
Court to take care of the Conservatee as follows:
conservator of the person is appointed when a person is unable to properly
provide for his/her personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or
conservator of the estate is appointed when a person is substantially
unable to manage his/her own financial resources or resist fraud or undue
influence. Once a conservator of the estate is appointed, the conservatee
can no longer enter into contracts except for basic necessities.
conservator for both the person and estate is appointed when both
conditions exits. Different people can act as conservator of the estate
and conservator of the person; or the same person can act as both.
adult who is subject to a conservatorship is called a conservatee. Anyone
can petition the Court for the appointment of a conservator for an
Acts as Conservator?
Conservator appointed can be either you, another family member or friend,
or a private professional conservator. Private professional conservators
are often appointed where there is no family member or friend available
with sufficient time to take care of the conservatee.
professional conservators care for elderly adults for a fee. They are
required to file annual information statements with the county Clerk. The
County Clerk orders background fingerprint checks on them from the
Department of Justice and, optionally, from the F.B.I., with annual
updates. Private professionals conservators charge anywhere from $50/hour
to $150/hour for their services. They often delegate some of their more
time-consuming work to their staff at more affordable hourly rates. For
example, when conservatees wish to stay in their home, professional
conservators often need to hire companions or caretakers to live with the
conservatee and provide 24-hour care.
the years, the Law Offices of Thomas B. McCullough, Jr. has established a
network of reliable, excellent private professional conservators that we
can confidently refer our clients to. Please ask us for a referral should
your situation require the use of a private professional conservator.
be assured that should you choose to act as conservator yourself, the
experienced attorneys and staff at the Law Offices of Thomas B.
McCullough, Jr. Will be there guiding you every step of the way.
a Conservatorship Works to Protect the Conservatee.
are court-supervised proceedings making them the safest way to protect
your aging parent. The following are some of the more important
of whether the conservator is professional or not, the Court looks over
her shoulder throughout the entire process by requiring annual
accountings. These annual accountings include detailed financial records
of all money spent. The accounting must be mailed to close family members
and certain other interested parties who may object to any item in the
the conservatorship is instituted and every year thereafter, the Court
sends out a Court Investigator to visit the conservatee and checks up on
his health and living conditions.
psychotropic medications can be administered to a conservatee or before a
conservatee may be placed in a secured facility, the conservator must
petition the Court for authority to do so. Psychotropic medications are
strong mind-altering drugs used in the care and treatment of dementia.
conservator of the estate must furnish a bond which insures that the
conservatee has a remedy in case her assets are jeopardized by
carelessness or fraud by the conservator.
an elderly person is so incapacitated that they can no longer give
informed consent to medical treatment, then the Court will grant the
conservator the power to give the consent. Thus, the conservator can order
medical treatment over the conservatee's objections.
selling a conservatee's home, the conservator must discuss the matter with
the conservatee and report the results to the court as well as explain why
the home must be sold. The conservator must then petition and obtain the
Court's approval of the sale.
conservator can be removed at any time if he is not performing his duties
properly. The conservator can also be surcharged for any damage he may
have caused the conservatee or her estate.
Abuse is a Growing Trend and Quick Action is Sometimes Needed.
people tell us they feel guilty taking control over their parents or they
are afraid to anger their parents who used to be strong, self-sufficient
individuals. They hesitate before taking action to protect their parents.
Sadly, sometimes it is too late when action is finally taken.
abuse does happen. In fact, it has become a growing trend as our
population ages. Sometimes the abuse or neglect by a caretaker can lead to
death. A new "friend" can bilk your parents out of their life
savings in a matter of days. Keep a close eye on your parents as they age,
especially when they reach their 70s and 80s.
elderly parents can be stubborn and hesitate to relinquish control of
their person or estate. However, just remember that conservatorships are a
powerful tool. If needed, a conservator can be appointed even over the
elderly person's objection.
can act as quickly as overnight to protect your parents: a temporary
conservatorship can be instituted upon 24-hours notice.
review the list of Common Signs that a Conservatorship is Needed on the
back of this pamphlet. Watch for these signs carefully and be prepared to
act quickly should any new "friend" enter into the picture. And
know that we here at the Law Offices of Thomas B. McCullough, Jr. will be
ready to act quickly for you once the time has come.
Signs that a Conservatorship is Needed
onset of Alzheimer's Disease. Watch for memory loss and behavior or mood
OUT FOR THESE SIGNS CAREFULLY!