When would a conservatorship be a good idea for a family member?
Two things must combine to make a conservatorship appropriate. One, the person must be physically or mentally incapable of making important decisions for herself. The other circumstance is that she doesn't already have legal documents (such as a living will and a power of attorney for finances) that cover decisions about her personal and financial matters.
- If she hasn't prepared a power of attorney for finances, she might need a conservator of the estate.
- If she doesn't have a medical directive or living will, she might need a conservator of the person to make healthcare decisions.
- Even if she has a medical directive, she might still need a conservator of the person to decide health matters that aren't covered in the medical directive (if the medical directive doesn't already name an agent to make those decisions).
- Even if she has a power of attorney for both health care and finances, she might need a conservator of the person to make decisions about her personal life -- where she's to live, for example, or who's allowed to spend time with her.