Appointment to conservatorship is a huge responsibility. Unfortunately, some people seek ways to abuse this power rather than to work to protect the person whose needs they’ve been appointed to serve.
Although family members and others close to the conservatee might wish to pick the person in charge, courts often appoint someone on the protected person’s behalf. A conservator can’t be removed simply because friends or family dislike the person.
However, there are circumstances where removal is worth pursuing because the conservator is demonstrating proven mishandling, incapability, or malicious intent.
How to spot conservatorship abuse
It’s not always easy to spot the signs of a conservator abusing their power, but there are certain things to watch for, including:
- Bills that are unpaid
- Irregular or inexplicable bank withdrawals
- The sudden loss of money, property, or other assets
- Unannounced changes to the will or other estate plans
It can be difficult to monitor activities, but fortunately, there is now software available in addition to other monitoring services that allow audits and the peace of mind that someone is keeping an eye on the business relationship.
If you do find a reason to suspect abuse of a conservatorship, possible offenses being committed include fraud, embezzlement, blackmail, or theft. It’s critical to seek legal counsel if you do suspect a loved one is being taken advantage of.
In court, if there’s reasonable evidence that the appointed conservator is committing these violations, a judge can appoint a new conservator. The family of the protected person can explore with their attorney the possibility of filing a lawsuit or bringing charges against the person who committed the violations to help protect other vulnerable people from being taken advantage of.