Anyone who is 18 years of age or older has the legal right to make decisions for themselves. However, not all adults have the capacity to take care of themselves. In such cases, a conservatorship may be granted to allow another adult to provide care to an incapacitated adult.
What is an incapacitated adult?
Under Pennsylvania law, an incapacitated adult in Pennsylvania is generally defined as a person whose ability to evaluate and understand information is impaired so significantly that they are unable to manage their finances or meet requirements for their health and safety.
How to create a conservatorship
The person seeking to be conservator may file a petition with the court requesting to be appointed as conservator. During the hearing, the petitioner must prove that a conservatorship is necessary due to the person’s incapacitated state.
Conservatorships ae often very restrictive, and therefore, one will only be granted if the court truly believes it is necessary for the incapacitated person’s well-being. The court may also determine that other less-restrictive alternatives are enough.
What happens once the conservatorship is granted?
Generally, a conservator will have control of the incapacitated person’s estate. The conservator will have the power to manage their finances and make health care decisions on the incapacitated person’s behalf. The conservator will also manage the incapacitated persons’ day-to-day life and make sure they have what they need to become self-sufficient.
Conservatorships are often permanent, but the court may decide to end it if the once-incapacitated person can show they are no longer incapacitated and can take care of themselves.
Guardianships and conservatorships are useful tools to ensure that your loved ones receive the care they need.