How is a conservator paid?
UPDATED: June 19, 2018
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A conservatorship usually allows the conservator to be paid for his or her services. The conservator is also entitled to attorney fees to seek legal advice when necessary. The costs and expenses of a conservatorship are paid from the property of the person who is the subject of the conservatorship, also called the conservatee.
How a Conservator Monitors Expenses
A conservator operates under the supervision of the court and must account for all expenditures from the conservatee’s assets. A conservator is usually required to make regular reports to the court and must get the court’s permission to take certain actions, like selling real property. To protect the conservatee’s assets from mishandling or misbehavior by the conservator, the court will usually require a conservator to purchase a type of insurance policy known as a surety bond that will pay the conservatorship estate if the conservator causes harm.
In general, if the conservator is a family member or friend, they do not seek payment for their time. The reason is that any money removed from the wealth of the conservatee reduces the amount that can be spent on the conservatee’s care. In general, the intent of family or friend conservators is to save and preserve as much of the conservatee’s wealth as possible. So the court rarely permits a wage to be paid to family or friends who are conservators, even when countless hours are spent on the supervision and care of the conservatee’s wealth. However, all courts will allow funds to be withdrawn for out of pocket expenses paid by a family or friend conservator.
Private Conservator Companies
Where there are no available family members or friends to attend to the assets of a conservatee, that conservatee is assigned to a private conservator company. Lawyers, banks, and trust companies are just a few examples of private conservators that the court may assign. Private conservators receive an hourly salary for their work, which is drawn from the conservatee’s wealth. While the salary is considered reasonable compensation by the court, it is still very expensive and will cause extensive losses in the conservatee’s estate. Additionally, private conservators tend to be more careless with assets and are not as prudent with regard to investments.
If you want to guarantee that your wealth is protected and the right person is taking care of your assets, then you must draft a living will. Within the living will is a section labeled power of attorney. This is the title given to a conservator that is assigned by the conservatee. For more information on living wills or for advice on proper preparation and drafting, consult with an estate planning attorney. An experienced attorney can help you gather your assets and draft your living will or living trust.