What is the legal cost if a court appoints a non-relative to serve as conservator?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Regina ann asked...

What is the legal cost if a court appoints a non-related individual to serve as conservator of a person's estate? The estate is in Alabama.

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com 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.

The conservator of an estate can be responsible for handling a number of tasks, from the simple to complex--including collecting the person's assets, paying bills, making investments, buying or selling real estate, borrowing money, or giving assets to others as gifts. So it is easy to see that conservator's job can vary greatly, depending on the amount of property involved and what needs to be done with it.

Like the laws in most other states, Alabama law provides that a conservator may be compensated for the work performed. And like the laws in many other states, Alabama's is frustratingly murky about how exactly how much a conservator is entitled to be paid--opting instead to say that the amount must be "reasonable."

The reasoning behind this nebulous standard is likely because of the very fact mentioned above: There are huge variances in what a conservator is required to do to get the job done and get the job done well. In real life, what is "reasonable" is decided on a case-by-case basis. Conservators must file periodic accountings of time and money spent with a court--and the court then approves or sets an amount of compensation that seems just. The one thing courts rarely quibble about compensating is the amount of premiums the conservator is required to pay for bond.