If you know a minor who is need of financial protection, you might be able to serve as their conservator. A conservator can help a minor in need to protect and manage their personal assets (outside of trusts) if their parents cannot do so.
Why would a minor need a conservator?
A judge in probate court might appoint a minor person a conservator for a variety of reasons. Often, the parents are either incapacitated, absent or deceased and the minor is in the care of a legal guardian. The legal guardian may or may not be the same person as the conservator.
A conservator can manage a minor’s property or assets that are outside of a trust. Local law states that this could be any of the following:
- An inheritance
- Benefits of a life insurance policy
- Benefits of a retirement account (IRA or 401K, retirement bonus etc.)
- Award from a lawsuit (personal injury, etc.)
- Real property such as land or buildings
What does a conservator do?
A conservator’s duties focus on managing financial assets. If you take on this duty, you are bonded for the value of their assets. If assets go missing or you handle them irresponsibly, you will be held responsible. You will hold property titles or registrations as a conservator rather than your own name.
As a conservator, your duties including the following:
- File an Inventory and Asset Management Plan
- Keep accurate records
- File annual tax returns and annual court records
- Invest and manage non-cash assets
- Complete due diligence to receive fair market value of liquidated assets
These duties must be done with respect to the ward’s wishes and needs. You will sometimes need the court’s permission to make drastic actions, such as selling property. The funds help to provide for the welfare, education and long-term financial security of the ward until they can provide for themselves.