Provided by the Probate & Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan
Powers & Duties of a Conservator
A conservator is responsible for the collection, preservation, and investment of the individual's property and must use the property for the support, care, and benefit of the individual and his or her dependents. A conservator has a duty of loyalty and may not use any of the individual's assets for his or her own personal benefit. The court typically requires the filing of a fiduciary bond.
Is the Conservator Required to Review the Individual's Records?
Yes, the conservator must promptly file an inventory of the individual's property with the court and deliver copies to the individual and other parties as required by court rule. Doing so requires a detailed review of how the individual's assets are held.
Is the Conservator Allowed to Make Gifts from the Individual's Estate?
Some courts restrict gifting. If the estate is more than sufficient to provide for the individual's financial needs, then gifts less than twenty percent of annual income may be made to charities or other individuals in a manner that the individual might have been expected to make. The court and the conservator must consider the individual's estate plan in making investments and gifts.
Is the Conservator Required to Report to the Court on an Ongoing Basis?
Within 56 days of appointment the conservator must file with the court a verified inventory detailing all of the assets of the individual's estate. Copies of the inventory must be given to the individual and the interested persons. The conservator must also file annual, verified accounts with the court and provide copies to the individual and other parties as required by the court rules. Accounts shall be set for hearing for approval or allowance at least once every three years. A hearing before a judge must be held if the individual or an interested party objects to or challenges the accuracy of the conservator's account. The conservator must maintain careful records, and all payments from the individual's funds or other property should be supported by proof of payment or a receipt with a note describing the purpose of the payment.