When is conservatorship necessary?

A conservator is a person who a judge will authorize to make financial and legal decisions for someone who is no longer able to make such decisions for him or herself.  A conservatorship may also be required when a disabled child who does not have the capacity to manage some or all or some of his finances reaches age 18.  A family member may request to be appointed, or a nursing home or other health care provider may ask that someone be named to make these decisions for an incapacitated person, often so that paying for the cost of care can be addressed.  Usually if someone has named an attorney in fact (also called power of attorney) then, unless the named attorney in fact is abusing his authority in some way, no conservatorship proceeding is necessary.