A: No, there is no benefit to serving as someone’s conservator; you are truly performing a service to the protected individual.
Q: Since my name is on the protected individual’s bank account as conservator, can I use some of the money for myself?
A: No, in Michigan, any personal use of the funds may be considered a crime and is most definitely a breach of your legal duty to the protected individual, even if you borrow money and pay it back.
Q: I believe my elderly parent is being taken advantage of by scammers but my parent does not understand the harm of spending the money he or she needs to live on, what can I do?
A: You may need to petition a Michigan probate court to be appointed conservator for your parent in order to manage your parent’s financial affairs to help prevent the waste of your parent’s assets.
Q: If a person has dementia, do they need a conservator in Michigan?
A: Maybe, a person needs a conservator when he or she lacks the judgment to make independent decisions. Maybe the person needs some guidance with big decisions but is just fine managing their own day-to-day affairs.
Q: As conservator in Michigan, do I need to keep every receipt for purchases made using the protected individual’s funds?
A: The court used to require every receipt but have since relaxed its accounting requirement so that receipts do not need to be filed with the court each year. It is a good idea to keep as many receipts as possible though and very important to keep a spreadsheet of all purchases, payments, and deposits so you have a record to do the annual accounting.
Q: Is there any easy way in Michigan to get an order to use funds for a minor conservatorship with a restricted bank account?
A: Yes. There is a court form called Petition to Use Funds and at the bottom of that form is the order you will need to present to the bank. Fill out the top petition part and attach any relevant evidence that may help the court make a decision on the request and mail it to the probate court with a return envelope. The clerk will process the petition and send it to the judge for a decision. If the judge approves the petition without a hearing, the clerk will mail the signed order back to you in your return envelope. This is more efficient than making multiple trips to the courthouse!
Q: I live in Michigan, and I received a copy of a petition to appoint a conservator for myself! Help, I don’t want someone else managing my financial affairs. What can I do?
A: Hire an experienced Michigan attorney to file an objection to the petition. There will be a hearing where you can testify that you do not need a conservator. You may end up going in for a psychological examination and the doctor will send a report to the court to prove a conservator is not needed. A neuropsychologist may provide the best result for an elderly client.