When Is a Conservatorship Used?

Conservatorships are one way to protect assets when the asset owner is unable to manage them on his/her own. You may be familiar with this concept from Britney Spears’ widely publicized battle against her own conservatorship.

In Ohio, conservatorships are distinguished from guardianships. Conservatorships are granted for physically infirm, but mentally competent adults, while guardianships may be granted for adults mentally unable to manage their own affairs. Here’s an overview of when a conservatorship may be used.

Ohio law and conservatorships

Conservatorships are codified under Ohio Revised Code Section 2111.021. The law states, in part, “A competent adult who is physically infirm may petition the probate court …to place, for a definite or indefinite period of time, the petitioner's person, any or all of the petitioner's real or personal property, or both under a conservatorship with the court. A petitioner either may grant specific powers to the conservator or court or may limit any powers granted by law to the conservator or court…”

The court will hold a hearing and review the petition to determine whether the petition was voluntarily filed, and if the named conservator is suitable for handling the petitioner’s assets and/or property. If they pass muster, the conservator will be approved.

When do conservatorships end?

Conservatorships can end in several ways. First, a petitioner can request a conservatorship for a finite period of time. For instance, if they know they’re about to undergo a serious surgery, they may request a conservator to handle their affairs during the surgery and recovery period.

If the conservatorship is granted indefinitely, certain circumstances will end it. First, the petitioner may be judicially deemed incompetent. Similarly, the probate court may order the conservatorship should end. The petitioner may submit a written termination notice, which takes effect upon execution. The written notice must be filed in court and served upon the conservator within 14 days of execution. Finally, a conservatorship will end when the petitioner dies. At that point, their estate plan will dictate how assets are handled.

If a petitioner is deemed incompetent by the court, ending a conservatorship, a petition for guardianship may be granted.

Planning for conservatorship

If you need to establish a conservatorship, or if you’ve been asked to be a conservator, James Bart Leonardi, LLC will guide you through the process. We can help you understand your rights, obligations and any potential consequences of a conservatorship.

To schedule a consultation, reach out to James Bart Leonardi, LLC today.

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