Conservatorship of a Minor 7

What is a Conservator?

guardian is a person who is appointed by a court to be legally responsible for the care and custody of a minor (or of an adult person who has been legally determined to be incapacitated) when the minor parent(s) is absent, deceased or otherwise unable to fulfill those legal duties. In addition to the legal responsibility for the care of the minor, the court must also consider the management of the minor’s property. Generally, when a guardian of the minor’s person is appointed, the court will also appoint a guardian of the minor’s estate — in many jurisdictions, this is called the conservator.

The same person is usually appointed both guardian and conservator, although it is possible for different persons to be appointed. If a minor receives an inheritance, a personal injury settlement, a life insurance payout, government benefits or other payments, an adult must be appointed to manage the funds. (If the minor’s parents are alive and have custody of the minor, they have authority in most states to manage those assets as parents and without special appointment by the court.)

In determining a conservator, the court may consider a person named in the will of the last parent to die, the wishes of a living but temporarily unfit parent and even the wishes of the child (if of appropriate age). The court is not bound by the parents’ choice or the child’s choice though. It must appoint an adult who is suitable, qualified and willing to serve.

What are the Duties of a Conservator?

A conservator is responsible for the protection and management of the minor’s financial estate. The conservator must be prudent in investing and spending the minor’s assets, using only those assets necessary for the minor’s care. He or she must also account for all funds received and/or expended on behalf of the minor.

The court maintains supervisory authority over the conservator and will require court order for any substantial expenditures. There is generally a regular accounting requirement imposed by law and by the court in order to keep a close eye on the management of the minor’s assets.

Is the Conservator Personally Liable for the Debts of the Minor?

A conservator is not personally liable for any debts of the minor as long as the conservator always makes it very clear that he or she is acting as a legal representative of the minor. Unauthorized use or misappropriation of the minor’s estate by the conservator may result in personal liability to the estate for any loss.

How is a Conservatorship Terminated?

Conservatorships for minors terminate when the minor reaches the age of majority. The court generally requires the conservator to prepare and present a final accounting of the administration of the minor’s estate. Upon the court’s approval of the final accounting, the conservator transfers the estate to the former minor. The court then issues a final receipt and the conservator is discharged from any further legal duty.

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Discussion

  • lovely_lady32

    Is it possible to get guardianship of a child back and how is it done legally. I was tricked into giving up my kid and i am not unfit it was all for money.

  • Bonnie Beckham

    I would like to have proof that my parent had legal custody of me, and that physical custody of me was transferred to me to my other parent. He had legal custody if I lived him for more than a year or so, true? I am concerned about the custodial parents’ rights towards the minors when the previous spouse/mother died.

  • Concerned Party

    Is it mandatory that the estate be turned over to the minor child upon his/her reaching age 18? I have been handling the estate left by the child’s father. Her mother has maintained custody of her since he passed (at the child’s age of 11). The parents of said child were divorced at the time of his demise. It is my considered opinion that the child’s mother wants control of the money in the estate when the child turns 18. Is there any legal way that I could maintain some control of the money by requiring two signatures (the child’s and mine) for any withdrawal of funds after she turns 18?

  • missy

    I live in minnesota and have 2 minor children at home still (15 years old). before their grandpa passed away about 5 years ago, he had sold a property on contract for deed. because my kids’ dad had passed away previous to their grandpa, the kids were left the share of grandpas inheritance that would have went to their dad and because the contract for deed had to be honored, my kids have been receiving a payment every month. now the person who is purchasing the property has qualified for a loan and wants to pay off the contract for deed. his lawyer called me today and asked if there is a guardianship set up for my kids. i said i didnt think so, nothing i ever went to court for or in front of a judge. The kids get social security and as their mother i am the representative payee and of course responsible for any and all issues in their life…legal, medical, school etc. this lawyer tells me that i will need to get a lawyer and get this set up, which could take a while and as far as expense it would be probably a few hundred dollars for a filing fee at least plus lawyer fees. he said they cant sign off on the property so i need to do this so i can sign for them. i guess because they are minors, i thought I could/had to sign for them anyways….I do for everything else! Im not going to spend a few hundred dollars or more just for a judge to tell me I am their mother and legally responsible for them!! if thats the case, I have no problem just continuing the monthly payment. Is this true?? do I need to do all this or as their mother can I legally sign for them…..to sign off on this property and get paid off?? thanks…Missy

  • jazz

    Is it possible for me to adopt my younger sister if she will be turning 18 on oct.26 ? I’m 20 years old and my husband is in the navy? My sister wants to move to san diego ca to start her senior year of high school then college but fears losing her health benefits when she leaves our mother. She has a few health issues

    • jreither

      jazz, there is a pretty good answer to a similar question on Yahoo Answers here.

    • jsrmfl

      jazz, there is a pretty good answer to a similar question on Yahoo Answers here.