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What is a conservatorship and how does it help?

September 14, 2017 | TS Prosperity Group

What is a conservatorship?
A Conservatorship is established through the courts for someone who is unable to handle his or her own financial affairs. Here are a few reasons why a conservatorship may be necessary:

  • A minor, defined by state law, receives property by inheritance or by virtue of a legal proceeding. Those assets may be received and managed by a conservator until that child reaches the age of majority, again, as defined by state law.
  • An elderly person who no longer has the mental capacity to handle financial affairs or is being subject to influence by someone.

Examples of conservatorship in the case of minors
TS Prosperity Group has handled a conservatorship in the past for two young adults whose parents both died several years apart in separate accidents. While the surviving parent was alive, he handled the funds, but at the second death there were estate assets and proceeds from a life insurance policy that needed to be managed. Another was for a child injured at birth, who had received proceeds from a lawsuit to be used for her ongoing care.

Elderly conservatorship examples
The conservatorships that the TS Prosperity Group handles for older adults have come to us in a variety of circumstances. In one case, there were no immediate family members and an elderly woman was subject to the influences of a family friend. Nothing bad had happened, but the court saw a need for more objective handling of the assets of the older adult. We have had several cases where family members didn’t agree amongst themselves on the care and financial control of an elderly parent. There, again, the Court determined that the Conservatorship would provide more independent management of this individual’s assets.

Conservatorships may be either voluntary or involuntary
If a person objects to a conservatorship, the matter is brought before the Court for their determination as to what is best for that individual. This sometimes requires the testimony and evaluation of one or more doctors, family members, and other individual’s familiar with the person.  Once a conservatorship is established, the conservator must collect all the assets of the individual and take over management of those assets, including bill paying, tax preparation, home and business (farm) management and all other financial matters. Annually, the Conservator must file a report with the Court accounting for all the transactions made on behalf of the client. Any fees charged for these services are approved by the Court before they can be taken, because this is a Court proceeding, an attorney is needed to represent the Conservatorship.

Alternatives to conservatorship
There are some alternatives to using a Conservatorship, such as a trust or power of attorney. But there may be pitfalls in those options. In all cases, it comes down to what is best for the financial management of a person’s assets. If a family can agree or take care of an individual, or the management is successfully specified in a trust document, there may not be a need to involve the Court. The facts of each case are unique. If someone is in need of objective financial management, TS Prosperity Group can provide this service.

At TS Prosperity Group, we IGNITE PROSPERITY® by helping our clients do more with their money. Whether it’s saving a little extra cash each month or accomplishing a long-term strategy, our goal is to help you transform your financial life. Call and schedule an appointment today, one of our team members would love to help you do more with your money at TS Prosperity Group. TS Prosperity Group is based in Council Bluffs, Iowa, with clients across the midwest. For more information visit tsprosperitygroup.com or call 844-487-3115. #igniteprosperity


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Mary Jewell
Fiduciary Officer, VP, JD

Mary Jewell serves as a Fiduciary Officer and Vice President for the TS Prosperity Group. She began her career with TS Bank in 2012. Prior to working at TS Bank, she was an agricultural estate-planning specialist for Farm Credit Services and spent 12 years as a trust officer for another regional bank. She spent four years as a planned giving officer for a public foundation and shares her expertise with the Treynor State Community Foundation. She also raised funds for a local non-profit. Mary received her undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her Juris Doctorate from Creighton University. She stays busy with her family of six children and volunteers her time at the Joslyn Castle, the New Cassel Foundation Board, and the Center, in Council Bluffs. She is a member of the Omaha Estate Planning Council and the Nebraska State Bar Association.