When an individual becomes unable to make decisions about his or her finances and investment, family members or friends may petition the probate court for a conservatorship. This decision should not be taken lightly, and all interested parties should evaluate whether a conservatorship is actually necessary. If the court agrees that the individual in question is no longer capable of managing his or her own finances, a conservator will be appointed and entrusted with managing the property and income of the individual, also known as a ward.
Within two months of being appointed, a conservator is responsible for creating and submitting to the court an Inventory and Asset Management Plan, and he or she must file an updated version with each subsequent Annual Return. See O.C.G.A. § 29-5-30. Failure to do so or filing a report with inaccuracies can lead to a conservator dispute.
What Is an Inventory and Asset Management Plan
An Inventory and Asset Management Plan outlines the ward’s current property and the conservator’s plan for managing, expediting, and distributing that property on behalf of the ward. It describes in detail all assets and liabilities, including:
- Real property;
- Income such as Social Security, retirement benefits, and VA benefits;
- Personal property such as checking and savings accounts, stocks and bonds, and automobiles; and
- Secured and unsecured debts.
For each item in the inventory, a reasonable and current value should be listed, and the Plan should reflect the ward’s interest in the item if he or she doesn’t own it in full.
The management and distribution element of the Plan is based on the actual needs and best interest of the ward. It forecasts projections for expenses such as household bills, transportation costs, expenses relating to dependents of the ward, and insurance premiums and proposes a budget for the disbursement of funds. Each year, the conservator submits an updated Plan to the court and the ward’s guardian, if applicable.
How to Handle Conservator Disputes
There are many responsibilities associated with being a conservator, only one of which is filing an Inventory and Asset Management Plan. Whether you are a conservator facing an accusation of failing to act in your ward’s best interest, a ward who feels he or she is being treated unfairly, or an interested party who has suspicions about a loved one’s conservator, it’s important to get the legal representation you can trust.
The attorneys at Gaslowitz Frankel LLC have successfully represented interested parties in conservatorship proceedings in Probate Courts throughout the State of Georgia. Our lawyers are knowledgeable and sympathetic to the unique issues that a family faces when conservator disputes arise. For trusted guidance in dealing with this important and sensitive issue, consult with the attorneys at Gaslowitz Frankel.