Becoming a fiduciary conservator for an impaired adult is a large responsibility. If a court names you as a conservator, it is a decision to consider carefully. This role will require you to act in the best interest of another, sometimes at the expense of your own time and energy. However, it can also be very rewarding to serve another person—especially a vulnerable person—in such a way.
What are the responsibilities of a conservator?
In Kansas, a conservator is legally responsible for the financial aspects of a conservatee’s estate. This means that decisions regarding personal finance, investments and real estate will fall under the power of the conservatorship. You will also serve as a legal advocate for your conservatee’s rights, if it becomes necessary to do so.
It is a conservator’s responsibility to make decisions based on the best interests of their charge and the charge’s known wishes, if those wishes are reasonable and sound. The court encourages the conservatee to make as many independent decisions as possible in an arrangement like this, with the conservator serving as a guide and a safeguard.
What falls outside the conservator’s purview?
A conservator is legally responsible for the financial and legal aspects of an impaired individual’s estate. All other aspects of the conservatee’s care will likely fall to a legal guardian, who will take charge of the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of the individual.
Depending on the circumstances, a conservator may or may not be liable for the actions of the conservatee. If the conservator exercised reasonable care and discharged their duties to the best of their ability, it is unlikely a court will hold them liable for the actions of their charge. However, if the conservator acted negligently, the opposite might be true.
Additionally, a conservator is not personally responsible for providing financial resources to the conservatee. The state does not require the conservator to use personal funds in the course of carrying out their duties.
Becoming a conservator is an important role, which should only be undertaken with a complete understanding of the responsibilities and challenges involved.