Conservatorships Attorneys in Albany, Oregon
A conservatorship may be necessary when someone becomes incapacitated and does not have certain estate planning documents in place. Conservatorships must be formally established by filing a petition with the court.
If you are considering establishing a conservatorship or have questions about how conservatorships work, our attorneys at Felling & Reid, LLC can help. We assist families in Albany, Oregon, and surrounding areas who are confronted with the temporary or permanent incapacity of a loved one.
Our conservatorship attorneys in Albany, Oregon, serve clients throughout Linn, Polk, Benton, Lincoln, and Marion counties.
What Is a Conservatorship?
Before discussing the duties of a conservator or how a conservatorship is established, it is essential to understand what a conservatorship is. In plain terms, a conservatorship is a way for an individual to assume legal responsibility over an adult person's financial and legal affairs. When a person becomes incapacitated, a conservatorship can be used to appoint someone to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person.
Often, a conservatorship is not necessary if the individual establishes a power of attorney before the incapacity because persons who are granted authorizations under a power of attorney may have the same powers granted in a conservatorship. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of Americans have a power of attorney or any established estate plan. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), an estimated 6 out of 10 American adults do not even have a will or living trust.
Types of Conservatorships
If you are considering establishing a conservatorship for a loved one, you need to be aware of the different types of conservatorships. Each type of conservatorship affects the amount of authority that a conservator has over the protected person:
General (full) conservatorship. A general or full conservatorship may be appropriate when an individual cannot care for themselves or make major decisions due to severe impairment or disability. Typically, a full conservatorship is granted by the court when the protected person cannot manage their finances or other legal affairs.
Limited conservatorship. A limited conservatorship is often appropriate when an adult has developmental disabilities and needs a conservator’s assistance with certain areas of their finances or legal affairs. Thus, the conservator’s authority over the protected person's life is limited compared to the full conservatorship arrangement.
Temporary conservatorship. A temporary conservatorship is often appropriate when an incapacitated person is in need of immediate assistance. A judge may appoint a temporary conservator for a specific period of time or until a permanent conservator is appointed.
If your loved one requires assistance in certain or all areas of their life, you may need to consult with an experienced attorney to determine if a conservatorship is appropriate and, if so, which type of conservatorship would be best for your particular situation.
Our conservatorship attorneys – Timothy Felling and Tyler Reid – help clients in Albany, Oregon, and neighboring areas understand the available legal options to help them make informed decisions for a loved one in need of support.
What Are the Duties of a Conservator?
A conservator is a person appointed by the court to care for an adult individual who needs assistance due to disability or incapacity. The conservator’s duties vary from one case to another depending on the type of conservatorship and the protected person's situation.
The duties of a conservator may include the following:
Managing the assets and finances of the protected person
Signing legal documents on behalf of the protected person
Contrary to popular belief, a conservator is not always the protected person's spouse, adult child, grandchild, sibling, or another relative. The powers granted to a conservator are determined on a case-by-case basis, which is why a person appointed as a conservator may need the assistance of an attorney to help them understand their duties and ensure that they are fulfilling their legal responsibilities.
How to File for a Conservatorship?
A conservatorship can be established in four steps:
File a petition. The first step in establishing a conservatorship is to file a petition with the court. In the petition, the person requesting a conservatorship must explain why the respondent (the individual for whom conservatorship is sought) cannot manage their affairs and make important decisions on their own.
A court investigates the case. After a petition is filed, the court will initiate an investigation to look at the facts and determine whether the respondent is truly incapacitated and whether the appointment of a conservator is necessary.
A hearing. If the respondent, or another interested person, lodges an objection, the court will hold a hearing to determine if a conservatorship is still warranted.
A judge appoints a conservator. If a conservatorship is deemed necessary, a judge will appoint a person who will serve as a conservator.
Establishing a conservatorship for a loved one can be a confusing and overwhelming process. That is why you may want to seek the assistance of an experienced conservatorship attorney in Albany, Oregon, to help you navigate the legal issues that surround these conservatorship arrangements.
Conservatorships Attorneys Serving
The conservatorship attorneys at Felling & Reid, LLC have years of experience helping clients settle issues surrounding conservatorships. Whether you are considering requesting a conservatorship for a loved one or were appointed to act as someone’s conservator, our attorneys in Albany, Oregon, can help. Contact our office today to review the facts of your case and discuss your unique situation.