Need to Manage Assets for a Parent Who has Lost Capacity
When a parent loses capacity, children need to step in to take care of those parents. Part of that task involves taking control of the parent’s financial assets so that those assets can be used to pay the parent’s expenses. There are a number of options that are available to allow children to do so: (i) petition the court to appoint children as conservator of the estate of their parent; (ii) use a durable power of attorney; (iii) replace parent as trustee of parent’s revocable living trust. Each of these options is discussed below.
If all of parent’s assets are in parent’s name and there is no power of attorney available, asking the court to appoint children as conservator of parent’s estate is the only option available. This procedure can be time consuming and expensive, but upon showing that parent is unable to manage his or her financial affairs, the court will appoint someone to do so on parent’s behalf. Once appointed, the children as conservators “stand in parent’s shoes” and can therefore access and use for parent’s benefit all of parent’s assets. The conservator of the estate can buy and sell parent’s assets as well. Courts will require the conservator to account to the court for the use of parent’s assets, and if the conservator misuses assets the court can impose sanctions.
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