What options are available for elderly mother with Alzheimer's but wants to revoke durable POA?
A conservator or legal guardian is a person selected by the court in which the appointed person or persons, called a “guardian” or “conservator” attends to the personal and/or financial needs of another. In the context of elder law, a spouse or child is typically appointed as legal guardian or conservator and given various powers to protect a loved one.
The appointment of a legal guardian is something that is not taken lightly by the court. The legal guardian is limited to only those decisions that will meet the level of need by the incapacitated person. Some of these decisions may include, among others:
•Choice of where the loved one resides;
•Acceptance or denial of medical care;
•Control of food, clothing and shelter;
•Control of financial and contractual affairs;
•Estate and asset preservation planning;
•Restriction of a loved one’s civil rights and personal freedom.
In New Jersey, a conservatorship is generally more limited than a legal guardianship and is voluntary. Like a legal guardianship, a conservatorship is a court-ordered relationship between a caregiver and a person who is unable to make sound decisions due to old age or a mental or physical disability. Unlike a legal guardianship, however, a conservatorship concerns only the conservatee’s financial matters when they need assistance. If found necessary, a conservator will be appointed with only those powers necessary to make the following financial decisions:
•Power and duty to make reasonable payments for the support, maintenance and education of the conservatee;
•Power and duty to pay all lawful debts owed by the conservatee;
•Power and duty to possess and manage the conservatee’s assets;
•Power and duty to collect all debts owed to the conservatee;
•Power to engage in tax, estate and asset preservation planning.
Both legal guardianships and conservatorships require considerable time and effort on the part of the legal guardian or conservator. While establishment of these relationships is the main obstacle in caring for your loved one, other procedural requirements exist after you have been appointed legal guardian or conservator.