Elder Law: Conservatorship

As parents and other loved ones age, their adult children may begin to help manage finances by reviewing bills, writing checks and balancing checkbooks. At a certain point, both the parent and the adult child may decide to take formal, legal steps to protect the elder persons’ financial affairs. A judge can appoint a Conservator for someone who has lost some level of mental capacity due to dementia, major strokes, severe mental illness, or other conditions. Conservatorship can allow a trusted person, often a member or lawyer with expertise in Conservatorship, to control all or some aspects of your loved ones’ finances.

There are also a number of less intrusive alternatives to Conservatorship that families may use to financially protect an elderly relative. Options include:

  • Joint Bank Accounts: A joint bank account can be established to help manage money, save fund and write checks.
  • Representative Payee:  If your parent receives Social Security benefits or other state or federal benefits, a trusted person can be named as the representative payee to receive and help manage the benefits. Read more at www.ssa.gov/payee/
  • Trust: A trust can be established, naming someone else as Trustee to help manage and invest your loved one’s Estate.

 

How We Can Help

Zalkin Law Firm represents families who are concerned about the financial well-being of an aging family member. We are knowledgeable in the clinical and legal issues affecting individuals and families who are thinking about pursuing Conservatorship. We can help you determine whether Conservatorship is the most helpful solution or if another, less intrusive alternative is more appropriate. Sometimes Conservators have to make unpopular decisions, and family relationships become strained. When suitable, one of our lawyers can act as sole Conservator, or as co-Conservator along with a family member, allowing the family to make the more routine decisions while we make the unpopular decisions or set limits.