Conservators have court-ordered authority and responsibility to manage the affairs of individuals who can no longer make their own decisions about their finances or health care. If the incapacitated person had planned ahead and created durable powers of attorney for asset management and health care, that person will not need a conservator because the individual named in those documents would take charge. If a court appoints someone to take care of financial matters, that person is usually called the "conservator of the estate," while a person who is in charge of medical and personal decisions is the "conservator of the person."

An incapacitated person may need just one type of representative, or both. The same person can be appointed to handle both jobs. Both types of conservatorships are supervised by and held accountable to the court. When a conservatorship is needed right away, the court may appoint a temporary conservator until a permanent conservatorship is appointed. The request must be filed as part of a general conservatorship mater, and can be filed either at the same time or soon after the general conservatorship case has been opened. The main duties of a temporary conservatorships is to arrange for the temporary care, protection, and support of the conservatee, and thereby protecting the conservatee’s finances and property.

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