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Full conservatorships and limited conservatorships

Sometimes, a medical problem an elderly individual has will render the individual unable to manage their finances and property. When such a situation arises, a court may be able to set up a conservatorship in relation to the elderly individual. Generally, in a conservatorship, a person is appointed to manage an impaired individual's finances and property. The appointed person is called the conservator.

One question a person may have regarding conservatorships is: When a conservator is appointed, does the conservator have total and complete control over the impaired individual's assets and finances? The answer to this question can vary, as there is not just one type of conservatorship here in Massachusetts.

There is one class of conservatorship, the plenary/full conservatorship, in which a conservator is typically given full and total financial control.

However, in another class, the limited conservatorship, the conservator is only given control over certain assets and financial matters, while control of the others remains with the impaired individual. Limited conservatorships can be helpful when an elderly individual's medical condition makes them unable to handle some financial matters, but hasn't taken away all of their financial management capabilities.

What specific kind of conservatorship will be granted in court proceedings to appoint a conservator depends on the specific circumstances of the impaired individual.

Conservatorships, whether they be full or limited, can be very complex legal matters. Individuals who have concerns that an elderly loved one may need a conservator to handle some or all of their financial matters should consider speaking with an experienced elder law attorney about their elderly loved one's situation.

Source: mass.gov, "GENERAL INFORMATION REGARDING GUARDIANSHIPS AND CONSERVATORSHIPS," Accessed Feb. 10, 2015

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