Conservatorship

Conservatorships

Requesting a Conservatorship in Arizona


A conservatorship is a legal proceeding in which a court appoints someone to be responsible for the finances and property of a person who is unable to manage those things for themselves. The person who needs a conservator is called the “protected person.” You may also hear the court refer to that person as “the ward.”

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You might seek a conservatorship for:

  • an elderly parent
  • someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • someone with a mental illness or mental disability
  • someone who suffers a stroke or a traumatic injury impacting their ability to act on their own behalf

Note: It is advisable that a health care professional provide a written statement that explains the reason that the protected person needs a conservator.

A conservatorship is not needed in all situations

For example, if you and your loved one have a durable power of attorney previously appointed to handle finances, then a conservator is not needed. A conservatorship is common in situations in which prior financial plans have not been made.

What does a conservator do? A conservatorship helps ensure that the protected person’s financial interests are protected and that a responsible person is appointed by a court of law to act on the protected person’s behalf. A conservator would be responsible for:

  • Paying bills
  • Making investment decisions
  • Managing real estate and property
  • and more, as related to the protected person’s finances

You can see that this is an important role.

There are many steps in petitioning the court to get an appointment for a conservatorship in Arizona and the team at Chester B. McLaughlin is here to guide you along the way. Here is the basic process for getting a conservator appointed:

  • Petition filed: All paperwork requesting a conservatorship submitted to County Probate Court.
  • Hearing date set: Court determines a date for the hearing.
  • Court appoints officials: Court appoints an investigator to the case and an attorney to represent the protected person.
  • Legal papers are served: Petitioner arranges for legal papers to be served to the protected person and anyone else who may be needed to support the case.
  • Conservator training: The person who is going to be the conservator is required to take the state’s online conservatorship training and file the signed certificate of completion with the Court.
  • Confirm qualification for bond: Once appointed, the conservator will be required to get a bond. This is a kind of insurance policy that safeguards the protected person’s finances should the conservator mishandle assets or make poor decisions. It’s advisable to ensure qualification beforehand.
  • Hearing: The petitioner must attend the court hearing and explain why the proposed conservator (themselves or someone else) should be appointed.
  • Conservator appointed: IF the conservator is appointed by the Court, a Letter of Conservatorship is given to the conservator. The conservator will use this as proof of their authority whenever they need to make financial decisions on behalf of the protected person.

A conservatorship is in place for the duration of the protected person’s life unless terminated by the court. (The exception is a temporary conservatorship).

In emergency situations, the probate court can appoint a temporary conservator—usually for a period of 30 days. A conservator can be appointed within a matter of hours and without requiring the notification of the protected person.

What is accepted as an emergency is not always clear-cut. The team at Chester B. McLaughlin can help guide you if you feel there is an emergency need for a conservator in cases where a loved one cannot act on their own financial behalf.

Examples of an emergency conservatorship include:

  • A loved one suffers sudden injury or a medical problem that makes them unable to manage their finances for a finite period of time.
  • You can prove there is the risk of an immediate financial loss if conservatorship proceedings are lengthy.
  • If a loved one is victim to immediate or ongoing financial theft and a lengthy conservatorship hearing would result in further financial loss.

The petitioner must indicate that an emergency temporary conservator is being requested when they file papers with the court.

For an emergency conservatorship, the probate court can appoint a temporary conservator quickly, usually in a few hours.

For standard or non-emergency conservatorships, the appointment of a conservator can take up to 60 days.

Costs for getting a conservatorship vary from county to county. The following factors can also influence the cost of a conservatorship:”

  • Complexity of the conservatorship requested
  • Emergency vs. standard conservatorship
  • Request includes guardianship
  • Request is contested
  • Fees for protected person’s attorney

The legal fees can be reimbursed to the appointed conservator from the protected person’s assets afterward.

The team at the law offices of Chester B. McLaughlin has extensive experience in Arizona conservatorships. Call us at (928) 443-9934 for assistance. We can help make sure all the required conservatorship paperwork is filed with the probate court and provide support to help navigate you through this complex process.

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