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Conservatorships

A conservatorship is handled in the same manner as a guardianship except that the ward consents and can cancel the arrangements. It can be of the person or the estate or both. It is the same as what used to be called guardianship for physical reasons. If a person is unable to take care of himself or his property, he can have a conservator appointed to act for him. Any or all assets may be placed under conservatorship. This conservator must report to the court every two years, the same as guardians.

A conservatorship is a statutory creation that provides assistance in situations where a petitioner is physically infirm but not mentally incompetent. A person thus may voluntarily petition the probate court for appointment of a conservator to manage, for a definite or indefinite time, his person or any or all of his property or both. The petitioner has very broad discretion to define the type and scope of the conservator’s and the court’s powers; however, he may not limit any bond requirements or powers given directly to the probate court by the statute.

Pursuant to O.R.C. 2111.021, the petition for a conservator must state whether the person, the property, or both shall be subject to the conservatorship; it either must grant specific powers to the conservator and the court, or limit those granted by statute that are not desired, and it must name the proposed conservator. The probate court holds a hearing to determine whether the petition was voluntary and whether the proposed conservator is suitable. If it finds suitable proof of these facts, then it will order the conservatorship.

Generally, the rules and procedures of O.R.C. Chapter 2111 applicable to guardians will govern until termination of the conservatorship. Because the adult ward of a conservatorship is a competent person, the ward may ask the conservator to enter into specific transactions or make specific disbursements, including gifts to the conservator.

There are four means by which a conservatorship may be terminated: by a judicial determination of incompetency, by the death of the petitioner, by an order of the probate court, or by a written termination notice from the petitioner. A termination notice must be filed with the court and a copy served upon the conservator. All court records may be made confidential upon a motion and showing of good cause.