Conservatorship Lawyer in Gresham, Oregon

In Oregon, a conservator is a person appointed by a court to assume certain duties related to managing the funds or property of another person.  The person for whom the conservator assumes these duties is called “the protected person.”  A conservatorship is a type of “protective proceeding.”  When the court appoints a conservator, the protected person loses certain important civil rights.

A judge may appoint a conservator only if the judge determines that the proposed protected person is “financially incapable” and has money or property in need of management or protection.  The conservator must file an accounting with the court every year documenting all the money or property of the protected person that the conservator has received, still holds or has disbursed.

Examples of red flags that may indicate the need for a conservatorship include:

  • A formerly conscientious person’s overdrawing his or her checking account.
  • A significant change in the person’s spending patterns.
  • The person’s entering an unusually high number of sweepstakes that the person receives in the mail, or making an unusually high number of charitable donations.
  • The person’s having a continuing history of being unable to manage money because of chronic alcoholism, drug use, or mental illness.
  • You suspect that someone (such as a relative, an unscrupulous contractor, a door-to-door salesperson, a telephone solicitor, or an e-mail solicitor) is taking or has taken financial advantage of the person.
  • The person’s making loans or gifts or money to a family member, “friend” or stranger, in amounts that are unreasonable in light of the person’s own current and probable future financial needs.
  • The person’s failing to maintain the home or other real property that the person owns.
  • The person’s refusing to spend any of the person’s money on needed care services, and the person’s doing without these services places the person’s health or safety at significant risk. (For example, if the person lives alone and has a history of falls or unsteadiness, yet refuses to hire part-time in-home help or put some other regular and reliable welfare check procedure in place.)

Financial Powers of Attorney and Conservatorships

In some cases having a valid financial power of attorney in place can avoid the need for a conservatorship. However, a power of attorney may be revoked by the principal (the person who signed it), thus ending the authority of the agent.  Also, since a financial power of attorney does not cut off the principal’s right to access or manage his or her own funds or property, it will not stop a principal from mismanaging his or her estate or protect one who is vulnerable to being persuaded by family members, “friends,” or salespersons from making loans, gifts or questionable purchases.  A conservatorship, by contrast, may not be terminated except by the court.  And by law, a conservator has the right to--and usually does--terminate powers of attorney signed by the principal.