A guardianship and/or conservatorship is sometimes needed when someone you know needs help in managing their affairs. But what happens when that person doesn’t have family or friends with the ability to act on their behalf?
By Aaron McCarter
I have previously written about guardianships and conservatorships in my article, “Have You Ever Heard The Word “Guardian” But Didn’t Know Exactly What It Means? Here Are Some Facts To Help Clarify”. In addition to asking, “What is a guardianship and a conservatorship,” there is also a question of what to do when everyone knows a guardianship or conservatorship is needed, but no one knows how to do it.
When a guardianship and/or conservatorship is placed on a protected person (the “ward”), then a guardian and/or conservator is appointed to oversee the process. However, most people only think about the appointment and initial judicial filings and hearings and do not consider the – sometimes extensive – responsibilities for the newly appointed guardian/conservator.
The guardian/conservator will need to be active in ensuring the ward is being taken care of, track every item of income and expense (for conservators), and file annual reports with the court detailing the facts and finances for the previous year. Many times, this process can become overwhelming for a family member who decided to be helpful but then finds out that it’s at times a full-time job.
The good news is that there are other avenues to take if you’re a family member or friend of a potential ward that doesn’t think you can keep up with the requirements. There are professional options that will fill in, and there is also a government office – in Clay County the Public Administrator – that can take over the responsibilities.
One of the first steps in the entire guardianship and conservatorship process is engaging a qualified estate planning attorney who can guide you through the various requirements. The initial filings, representation at hearings, and helping you with deciding on who represents the ward are all items that an experienced attorney can do to remove any guess work in the guardianship and conservatorship process.
For more information about guardianships, conservatorships, and other effective estate planning in Liberty, MO and the Kansas City Area and to access free tools to organize your estate, visit our estate planning website.