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Conservatorship in Colorado

Conservatorship in Colorado offers a reliable way to protect the assets of children and incapacitated adults. Besides selecting a guardian for day-to-day care, appointing a conservator ensures adept financial oversight.

What is a Conservatorship?

Conservatorship in Colorado is a legal appointment authorized by a court to manage the financial and other personal or business affairs of someone who can’t handle these matters themselves. This arrangement is typically necessary when the individual, known as the Protected Person or Respondent, is unable to make sound decisions due to incapacity, mental illness, or disability, and without the appointment, will dissipate assets needed for the individual’s care. The court appoints a conservator, who could be a family member or a professional, to take charge of the Protected Person’s finances, assets, and other financial interests.

The primary goal of a conservatorship in Colorado is to safeguard the Protected Person’s estate and financial security while ensuring their affairs are managed appropriately. Conservatorships undergo court supervision to ensure that they operate transparently and always in the best interests of the Protected Person.

Differences between Guardianship and Conservatorship

While both guardianship and conservatorship in Colorado involve legal means to protect individuals who can’t make decisions independently, they focus on different areas. Guardianship generally deals with personal and healthcare decisions, like medical treatments and living arrangements. Conversely, conservatorship in Colorado is about financial matters, including asset management, business management, bill payments, and investments. A guardian looks after the overall welfare of the person, while a conservator specifically handles their financial interests. In some scenarios, estate planning attorneys in Colorado may advise on appointing one person for both roles for seamless management, but understanding the distinction is crucial in outlining responsibilities and ensuring comprehensive care for the individual.

Responsibilities of a Conservator in Colorado

A conservator has the duty to responsibly use resources for the Protected Person’sexpenses, and often works alongside the guardian and the Protected Person. Conservatorships for minors end when they become adults (age 18 in Colorado) unless extended by a judge. For incapacitated adults, the duration can vary.

When setting up a conservatorship, it’s important to talk with an estate planning or probate attorney to navigate the complexities of financial management and legal compliance. Your attorney can provide invaluable assistance in ensuring the conservator’s decisions align with the dependent’s best interests and legal requirements.

Choosing a Conservator

In choosing a conservator, the choice is completely up to you. With this in mind, select someone trustworthy and adept at handling finances. They don’t have to be the same as the guardian. If the guardian is suitable for caregiving but not for financial management, appointing a separate conservator ensures the protected person’s needs are met. If the protected person has special needs or receives public benefits, then it is extremely important to nominate a person who has the knowledge and ability to advocate, arrange, and monitor these complexities. In some cases, a professional entity like a bank or trust company may be the best choice. Our estate planning attorneys in Colorado can advise whether a family member, professional, or financial institution is the best fit for the conservator role.

Obtaining a Conservatorship in Colorado

Filing for a conservatorship in Colorado involves several legal steps, best navigated with the assistance of estate planning attorneys in Colorado. To get a conservatorship in Colorado, you must file a petition in the district court of the county where the person in need lives. This petition should explain why the conservatorship is needed, supported by evidence of the individual’s incapacity. All interested parties, including the Respondent and their close relatives, must be notified. The court then appoints an attorney for the Respondent and schedules a hearing to assess the necessity of a conservatorship, where evidence is presented and witnesses may testify.

For those seeking to set up a conservatorship or requiring advice on estate planning tools, contact us today to speak to one of our expert estate planning attorneys in Colorado. Their guidance ensures that every aspect of the process is handled professionally and in the best interests of all parties involved.

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