3 Signs It’s Time to File for Conservatorship

Older couple embraced in hug.

It can feel overwhelming to witness a loved one become unable to manage their own affairs—whether financial, personal, or both. If someone close to you, whether a parent, sibling, or relative, requires help managing important decisions that affect his/her livelihood, filing for conservatorship is an effective option.

Here are a few common signs that it might be time to file for conservatorship on someone else’s behalf.

Top 3 Warning Signs

1) A loved one has diminished capacity.

To grant a conservatorship, the courts must deem your loved one unable to manage his/her own affairs independently. 

A few examples may be more obvious than others, such as:

  • A loved on is incapacitation, due to a coma or medical condition
  • A child who requires additional care is turning 18 years old 

While other examples may include:

  • A loved one has a substance-abuse problem
  • A loved one is living with a mental health issue that is disrupting her ability to live independently
  • An older parent is beginning to show early signs of Alzheimer’s

Only you and your loved one can make the final decision. However, if you feel this individual may be unsafe—perhaps your loved one is being taken advantage of by another individual or entity or poses a risk of self harm—you’ll want to file. As difficult as it may be, erring on the side of caution is the best way to keep your loved one safe.

2) Your loved one has not designated a power of attorney.

If you have witnessed any of the signs above, and your loved one has not created a will or designated a power of attorney, you’ll want to file for conservatorship to ensure all affairs are managed by someone he or she trusts.

Note: Filing for a conservatorship doesn’t always need to be one person’s decision. In fact, if your loved one is aware that he is no longer able to manage his finances or other personal matters, he may request a conservatorship. Knowing that you or a close sibling is making these important decisions on his behalf, may help lessen any stress and put your loved one’s mind at ease.

It may also benefit you to have this conversation now, while a loved one is able to take an active role in the decision process.

3.) You have the capacity to become a conservator.

Conservators have many important responsibilities, such as deciding where a loved one will live, filing the correct paperwork, and getting approval from a judge to make major decisions, such as selling a home or ending life support. But other tasks include:

  • Making health care decisions
  • Paying bills
  • Filing state/federal taxes

Caring for another individual is a full time job and can take a major toll on your health and wellness. However, if you are ready, willing, and prepared to take on this responsibility, it might be time to do so.

Need Help Filing for a Conservatorship?

Choosing whether to file for conservatorship can be a confusing and stressful time for the entire family. It’s important to have experienced attorneys there with you to help file the correct paperwork and make the process smooth for everyone involved.

We invite you to schedule a free consultation with us today to learn how we can support you during this time. If you decide to move forward with the conservatorship, we can help draft the petition, file the paperwork, and advocate during the court hearing to help your loved one get the best care possible.