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Do you believe a conservatorship could help your loved one?

Though many Arizona residents hope that they will personally be able to care for their parents or other elderly loved ones, that may not always be a plausible arrangement. Additionally, if a person becomes unable to make decisions for him or herself, and no one was appointed to take over in such a scenario, the court may make an appointment.

The idea of a faceless court making such an important decision may seem uncomfortable to you. However, if your loved one needs someone to make legal and financial decisions, the appointment of a conservator may prove necessary. Because you may have concerns regarding this type of arrangement, you may wish to learn more about conservatorships.

What is a conservatorship?

As mentioned, when a person becomes unable to make sound decisions for him or herself, the court can appoint someone else to do so. With a conservatorship, the court deems the person incapable of making sound decisions when it comes to legal issues and puts another person in charge. Typically, someone can submit to the court a nominee for conservator, and after review, the court may either accept or reject the petition for conservator. So, you could potentially seek the position yourself, if desired.

When is a person considered incapable?

It may interest you to know that conservatorships do not only apply to elderly individuals. If a younger person is considered mentally ill or disabled, he or she may also face the need for a conservator to ensure that responsible legal and financial decisions are made. However, if you have concerns regarding an elderly family member, mental illness and disability may still apply. In particular, Alzheimer's disease and dementia can often present the need for someone else to take over certain affairs due to mental degradation.

Of course, just because you or someone else believes that a person is mentally incompetent, it does not always mean it is true. Therefore, the person's mental capacity must go under evaluation by a medical professional, such as a psychologist, physician or psychiatrist.

How can you establish a conservatorship?

If you feel that a loved one's mental capacity has gotten to a point where he or she may make harmful decisions, you may be interested in potentially becoming a conservator. This process can prove difficult, and you will need to present much information to the court in order to prove the person's incapacitation and to argue why you would make a responsible conservator. To find out more about the process and gain additional useful information, you may wish to enlist the help of an attorney.

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