Conservatorships

New Jersey Conservatorship Attorneys

What is a Conservatorship?
Unlike a guardianship, a conservatorship is a judicially appointed individual who serves as a power of attorney. Usually a conservatorship will be appointed when a Power of Attorney document is in place, but a family dispute arises concerning who should be in charge of the individual, as sometimes happens when there are dueling Powers of Attorney. However, a conservatorship cannot be sustained without the written consent of the individual involved. Essentially, it is a court approved Power of Attorney. This proceeding is only for individuals who retain capacity and can communicate their choice.

Additionally, there are circumstances in which it is no longer possible to execute a Power of Attorney. For instance, if the individual suffered a physical or mental decline to the point where they no longer have a sufficient level of awareness to execute a Power of Attorney. However, if that person still retains capacity, and is not an appropriate subject for a guardianship proceeding, the alternative is to appoint a conservator pursuant to New Jersey Law.

In order to establish the conservatorship, a Complaint must be filed with the Superior Court in the county where the person resides. The Complaint must be accompanied by an independent doctor's affidavit stating that it is their expert medical opinion that the patient is mentally able to govern their own affairs, but is physically unable to attend to their own financial and legal affairs. The Court will appoint an independent attorney to represent the person so that their concerns regarding the conservatorship can be addressed by the court.

The conservator answers not only to the individual they are representing, but the court as well. They may serve with or without bond, depending on the assets involved, and the relationship to the individual. Additionally, the Court can condition the sale of real estate, for example, on notice to the Court, any interested parties and the individual. New Jersey law also dictates accounting requirements and fees to be charged for the services provided by the conservator to the individual and to the Court.

A conservatorship can only be terminated by an application to the Court to revoke, or by the death of the party represented.

If you are planning for incapacity, or you have a love one who is unable to handle their legal and financial affairs, contact an experienced attorney who can advise you regarding your legal options. Call the Law Offices of Hunziker, Jones & Sweeney who can offer a free consultation and advise you whether a conservatorship filing is right for you. Call (973) 256-0456 or fill out our contact form for a consultation.