It can be distressing to see a loved one grow older and suffer from illnesses like dementia or other significant health problems. Despite the strain of seeing your loved ones go through this painful transition, is also the emotional stress of bearing the responsibilities of health care and financial costs. Sadly, it often can leave our elderly struggling to manage their own affairs and you may need to step in to assist.
A conservatorship is a legal process governed by Connecticut General Statutes, 45a-644 to 45a-677 (2022) where a person (usually a loved one) petitions the probate court seeking the courts assistance in conserving a person that has become incapable of managing their affairs. Conservators are persons who are entrusted by the Probate Court to manage the financial and/or personal affairs of an adult who has been determined to be incapable of managing their finances or is otherwise unable to care for themselves.
Connecticut law allows for the protection of those who can no longer care for themselves. Establishing a conservatorship is an option to assist in making decisions on behalf of your loved one, to protect their assets and ensuring they are adequately and humanely cared for as well. In seeking the appointment of a conservator, you can visit your local Probate Court to file requisite forms.
In doing so, you must show by clear and convincing evidence which requires medical proof that your loved one’s mental, emotional, and/or physical condition prevents them from performing day-to-day functions necessary for their own well-being.
There are two types of conservatorships: (1) a conservator for the person who cannot care for their own needs, or (2) a conservator of the estate that is where one is unable to look after their own financial affairs due to a mental or physical condition which deprives them of the ability to capably function.
Your loved one may need one or both types of conservators. Two separate individuals may perform the conservator roles, or one person may be responsible for both. A conservator of the estate or person may be an individual, a legally authorized municipal or state official, or an agent of a private or nonprofit corporation. Frequently, if you cannot serve, the court itself may choose a conservator through a roster of professionals that it maintains.
The appointment of a conservator may be made on a temporary basis, or for an extended period. A capable person may also request the appointment of a conservator on a voluntary basis for the same purposes.
A conservatorship can be critical to protecting your loved one’s rights, especially against the potential for theft, or simple mismanagement of funds. The law even allows for the freezing of the respondent’s bank accounts, if necessary, among other things to protect your loved one.
A Power of Attorney (POA) is another option when caring for a loved one with dementia or a similar illness. A power of attorney gives another substantial power and authority to make legal and financial decisions on behalf of your loved one. A POA is typically coupled with a health care directive. This allows your loved one to make important health care decisions while of sound mind on an HCD form, and then designate another to carry out his or her wishes by proxy.
If you have questions or concerns about establishing a conservatorship, we can help. At the Law Offices of Charles L. Kurmay, our team takes the time to learn about our clients’ individual needs and provide personalized service if the unfortunate need arises for a conservatorship.
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For experienced, dedicated legal guidance in probate law, contact us at (203) 380-1743. We offer free initial consultations for prospective clients. Evening and weekend appointments are available for your convenience.
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