Do we still have to pay for the bonding insurance if there's nothing left in the bank?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 15, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband has been his mom's conservator for about 18 months. Initially, he had to be bonded. At the time, she had about $20,000 in the bank, but, now her outstanding bills have been paid and her home foreclosed. After her nursing home bill is paid, there is $50 or so extra a month. I don't understand why we still have to pay bonding insurance ($140) when there is nothing to insure? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. We don't have the finances to pay an attorney right now. Mrs. A.

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Many courts require conservators to post a bond unless the bond requirement was specifically waived.

But they are also required to be logical"”and to impose a bond that is realistic in covering the amount of money and property at hand. This sense of logic may speak most loudly to the court in your case, which may use its discretion to reduce or even eliminate the bond amount. Contact the clerk of the court that is overseeing the conservatorship and make a brief and clear explanation of your dilemma"”you've done a good job of expressing that here, in your question. Be prepared to back up your claim with specific evidence, such as a clear accounting of how and when the money was spent. You may be required to file a more formal request for bond reduction, but someone in the court may be wiling to walk you through the required paperwork.

Something else to consider: Conservators, even family members who have been appointed to do the job, are often able to be reimbursed for expenses, and paid for their services, from the assets of the person for whom they are caring"”as long as the court considers the payments to be "reasonable."

So your husband may be able to get back money he has spent in his services as a conservator. Or the fact that your husband has not received compensation may be additional evidence to the court that he is acting reasonably"”and should not eat up the conservator's or his own money paying for a bond.