Michigan Conservatorship Attorney

Unfortunately, there are times when an individual may no longer be capable of handling their own affairs. When this happens, a conservatorship can help with handling an incapacited individuals affairs. While similar to legal guardianship, a conservatorship differs in that it covers decision making regarding the incapacited individual’s financial and asset affairs instead of their personal and medical needs. In Michigan, conservators are appointed by probate courts after a petition and court hearing, and are given the power and responsibility to handle a portion or all of an incapacitated persons financial affairs, property and assets.

There are several types of conservatorships available depending on the circumstances, which generally are divided up depending on whether the incapacited person is a minor or an adult. Conservatorships can be a complicated process in Michigan, and have the potential to involve substantial amounts of money, personal property, real estate and valuable assets. Therefore, it is strongly recommended for concerned parties to reach out to an attorney specializing in estate law to help navigate these proceedings.

How Our Lawyers Can Help

Sean J Nichols, PLLC helps with many aspects of guardianship. Several of these aspects include:

  • Helping individuals/families with appointing a conservator
  • Setting up special needs trusts
  • Determining incapacity in court
  • Representing clients in conservatorship disputes
  • Transferring conservatorship assets

How are Conservators Appointed?

Blank form used for appointment of conservatorships in MichiganFor a conservator to be appointed in Michigan, there is a specific process that must be followed. The first step is for concerned parties to first fill out a Petition For Appointment of Conservator with the probate court. These concerned parties may be either the individual requesting protection under a conservatorship, or a person who is interested in the well being of the incapacitated individual. There is a filing fee associated with these petitions, which usually is between $150-175.

If there is enough evidence to support the appointment of a conservatorship, the court will appoint a conservator to be in charge of the individual’s finances and personal assets. The conservator is required to report an inventory of all the assets of the individuals estate within 56 days of appointment. Afterwards, they are required to report to the court the status individuals estate on an annual basis. The conservator remains in control until the individual no longer is incapacitated or they are relieved from their duties by the court. They can also petition the court to have themselves removed as a conservator for the individual.

Types of Conservatorships

Conservator of a Minor – This type of conservator has the authority to manage the finances of the minor they are assigned to.

Conservator of a Protected Individual – This type of conservator has to do with managing the finances of an adult individual.

Reasons to Seek Conservatorship

There are several reasons why a conservatorship may be pursued. As mentioned previously, conservatorship can be pursued by the individual to be protected by it, due to their knowledge that they are no longer fully capable of handling their financial affairs and assets. Typically this includes elderly individuals who are no longer physically or mentally capable of managing their finances or their assets such as real estate, businesses or physical property.

Conservatorship may also be pursued by parties interested in the welfare of the incapacited individual, or those who have a vested interest in the individual’s financial assets or property. More often than not these are friends or family members of the individual who are acutely aware of their incapacity for managing their own affairs. Sometimes however, these can be people outside the family who are directly affected by the individuals property – such as those involved in real estate the individual owns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a Conservatorship?
A conservatorship is a legal concept where a person is appointed by a court to manage the financial assets and property of an individual who is no longer able to do so themselves or who has become incapacitated.

Q. How does someone Petition for Conservatorship in Michigan
They must file a petition with the probate court where the individual to be protected resides. Based on the evidence provided, the judge then decides whether or not to appoint a conservatorship.

Q. What’s the difference between conservatorship v.s. power of attorney
Conservatorship can be petitioned for by an outside party, whereas power of attorney can only be granted by the individual covered by it. Power of attorney also does not require court involvement, as it is created via a written and notarized document. By comparison, to set up a conservatorship requires direct involvement by a probate court.

Q. What’s the difference between conservatorship v.s. guardianship
The biggest difference between a conservatorship and a guardianship is the scope of decision making they allow for. Guardianships cover the medical and personal decision making for the protected individual, such as where they live or what healthcare choices they make. A conservatorship on the other hand covers the financial, real estate and personal assets of the protected individual.

Q. How is incapacity determined?
An incapacitated person is defined by Michigan Law 700.1105(a) as:

“an individual who is impaired by reason of mental illness, mental deficiency, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication, or other cause, not including minority, to the extent of lacking sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate informed decisions.”

This is determined by evidence provided to the court during the petition process. If necessary, the court can do its own investigation to determine whether or not a conservatorship is needed.