In most cases involving conservatorship, the courts will appoint a person or organization to manage the financial assets of a protected person. This is the most basic explanation of the primary duty of conservators, but their power and authority can vary based on the state as well as the court that appoints them. The courts in most states can grant conservators a number of different powers:
- Power over contracts
- Selling real estate and other assets
- Paying and collecting debts
- Managing investments or estates
Conservators are appointed as a long-term solution for managing the assets of a protected person. But the process of appointing a conservator can take time. A person or organization must prove they are capable of handling the responsibilities of the position, a surety bond usually has to be obtained, and the courts have approve everything to make it official. But what happens if there is an immediate threat to a protected person and his or her assets?
The Role of Emergency Conservators
If the courts determine that a protected person is either likely to be or currently being taken advantage of, they can appoint an emergency conservator. Emergency conservators differ from general conservators in that:
- Their powers are more focused to achieve a specific purpose
- They are only granted authority for a limited time
The time limits for emergency conservatorships are generally determined by the courts. In many instances, emergency conservators will serve between 30 and 60 days, with some cases even lasting as long as six months. Their powers are usually focused on saving or protecting assets that may be in danger of mismanagement or theft. Courts typically assign up to six powers to conservators, so make sure you understand what you are and are not authorized to do.
Solving Temporary Issues
The narrow focus of powers given to emergency conservators make them the ideal solution to temporary issues regarding the estate and assets of a protected person. These types of conservators may also be required to prepare the estate for a new, more permanent conservator to take charge of and gain control over. The general conservator who steps in after the emergency conservator steps down will have a lot more autonomy and powers granted by the court.
The emergency powers given to emergency conservators are focused and usually rely on saving and protecting assets. Once they have finished their duties, a long-term conservator will step in and handle the protected person’s assets.
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.