The appointment of a conservator is one of the most important steps taken during elder care planning. A conservator typically acts as a fiduciary. A fiduciary is tasked with handling the finances of the protected person. As such, a fiduciary must always act in good faith and be honest and trustworthy.
But what services does a fiduciary provide? Well, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, fiduciaries have four primary responsibilities:
- To manage the protected person's money correctly and carefully.
- To keep accurate accounting records.
- To always act in the protected person's best interests.
- To always keep the protected person's money separate from the fiduciary's.
Regarding the last point in this list, fiduciary's must always remember that the money they are managing belongs to someone else. Any attempt to commingle funds or use the protected person's money for personal reasons is prohibited and a profound violation of trust.
In fact, if a fiduciary should take funds from the protected person's accounts, he or she could be removed from duty and have to repay the money that was taken. In more serious situations, a pilfering fiduciary could be sued or even arrested.
It is imperative that conservators carry out their duties honestly. If you are concerned that a loved one's conservator is taking advantage of his or her position and not acting in your loved one's best interests, you may wish to contact an elder care planning attorney.
If it is revealed that the conservator has been mismanaging your loved one's funds, the attorney could act on your behalf to correct the situation. Depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary to have the conservator removed from duty or be subject to more serious legal actions.