Being a conservator for a friend or loved one is an important job. While it’s not the most complex thing in the world, there are still a lot of mistakes a person can make that will make their job as a conservator harder, not to mention put a strain on the person subject to the conservatorship.
If you are managing a conservatorship or are soon to be named a conservator, there are a few things you should avoid doing.
#1: Mixing Assets
You are in charge of managing the financial assets of the person subject to the conservatorship. This involves keeping an accounting of all expenditures, investments, etc. This accounting is subject to review by the courts and must be kept separate from any of your personal finances. Mixing the two is a big mistake that can lead to trouble with the courts. Even temporary mixtures of assets and finances are a bad idea; it’s best to keep everything separate. At worst, you can wind up in legal trouble. At best, you will make accounting for the conservatorship that much harder on yourself.
#2: Needlessly Remove Assets from the Conservatorship
According to Minn. Sat. § 524.5-313(c) (3), conservators must notify the subjects of conservatorships and any other interested persons or parties when assets or personal property are sold, given away, or disposed of. It’s best to avoid removing assets, but if any of the above actions are taken, make sure to notify everyone as required by Minnesota law.
You should also avoid borrowing assets from the conservatorship, either for your own benefit or the benefit of somebody else.
#3: Spending After the Date of Death
Should the person who is subject to the conservatorship pass away, stop spending and/or disposing of assets immediately. A conservator’s authority generally ends upon the date of death, and you are not allowed to continue using assets unless it has been approved by the court.
#4: Accounting Mistakes
All conservatorships in Minnesota are required to file an accounting each year. These allow the courts to track the assets and spending of conservatorships, ensuring proper management. For more information on conservator accounting, see this guide. It’s important to understand what needs to go into the accounting, as well as what should be left out. For one, don’t include assets outside your control as conservator. These assets can include:
- Those controlled by a trustee
- Those excluded from your control (as appointed to you by the court)
- Your personal assets
When doing your accounting, record every entry (individual deposit and expense) as its own line item. Do not record categories where things are lumped together. If you are struggling with the accounting process, it’s best to seek help from a professional accountant or an attorney who specializes in this field.
#5: Do Not Fail to Get a Conservatorship Bond
When you are appointed by the court for as conservator, you will likely be directed to obtain a conservatorship bond. This is not a recommendation. If a court orders you to obtain a conservatorship bond, you generally will have a limited amount of time to do so. These bonds are fairly simple to obtain if you work with a reliable agency. At The Patrick J. Thomas Agency, we specialize in helping conservators obtain the bonds they need to assume their duties as conservators. If you are in need of a bond, get in touch with us today.
Disclaimer: this is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. If you need legal counsel, please contact an attorney directly.\