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Conservatorship vs. power of attorney: What to Know

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Creating a plan to deal with your incapacitation can be a challenging part of estate planning. However, since your family is important, you must ensure they will be cared for if something happens. 

If you are trying to figure out how to handle this situation, consider conservatorship or a power of attorney. Learn more about each of these and how they differ here. 

What do they have in common?

A conservator and an agent (the person appointed through a power of attorney) have similar responsibilities. They must make decisions for someone else. 

The authority they have can be broad or limited. It all depends on the nature of the power of attorney or conservatorship. The areas they operate range from intimate personal needs to financial matters. 

Who has made the request?

While the roles do overlap in some respects, there is an important difference between a conservatorship and a power of attorney – if the subject of this authority has requested it. 

Powers of attorney are executed by you (or the person who wants them) while they can still make decisions for themselves. With this, you get to choose your agent, what decisions they can make, and when they can make them. 

A conservatorship occurs when someone else requests to have a conservator named. The court decides who is named the conservator and how much authority they have. 

What’s best for your situation?

It is possible for a conservatorship and power of attorney to exist together. For example, you may create a power of attorney to handle future incapacitation and conservatorship can be requested later while the power of attorney is active. It will be the court’s job to determine if the conservatorship is necessary if a power of attorney is in place. Knowing your legal rights and options can help you understand the role of both these things.