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What duties does a conservator have?

When a person is appointed conservator of a relative or other loved one, they are granted some very significant powers regarding their loved one’s finances. Given the power that is given to conservators, it is no surprise that there are many duties and responsibilities placed on these individuals.

Here are some of the common duties of conservators here in Massachusetts:

  • To make proper filings. Among the general required filings for conservators are the initial inventory and annual accounts. Also, sometimes, a conservator is required to file a financial plan.
  • To locate and identify the protected individual’s assets and income sources.
  • To control the protected individual’s income.
  • To protect the individual’s assets.

Fulfilling these duties can involve a wide range of activities. Now, some of the actions a conservator may desire to take towards fulfilling these duties have special requirements connected to them. For example, there are certain activities that a conservator generally cannot do without prior court approval.

Another key thing to note is that not all conservators will have the exact same duties. One reason for this is that not all conservatorships give a conservator total control over a protected individual’s finances. As we talked about in a prior post, both full and limited conservatorships are available here in Massachusetts. In a limited conservatorship, a conservator’s role is limited to certain specified assets and matters. So, in a limited conservatorship, what the conservator’s duties are will depend on the terms of the conservatorship.

When a person is serving as a loved one’s conservator, it is very important for them to understand what duties they have, what fulfilling these duties involves and what legal requirements and issues are present when it comes to their efforts for fulfilling these duties. Mistakes made by a conservator when it comes to their duties could not only potentially compromise the conservatorship’s intended protective role, but could also lead to a conservator facing major legal problems. Experienced conservatorship attorneys can provide individuals with information and guidance on conservatorship-related issues, including issues regarding conservator duties.

Source: Massachusetts Guardianship Association, "Handbook for Massachusetts Conservators,” Accessed June 30, 2016

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