Conservators Info Sheet
A conservator is appointed by the probate court if a person cannot manage his/her affairs or take care of his/her personal needs even with appropriate assistance, and there is no less restrictive means of meeting the person’s needs (or when a person voluntarily requests one).
An attorney must be appointed by the court to represent the person who might be conserved (respondent) at the hearing if the person is unable to request or pay for one. The respondent has a right to choose his/her own attorney if he/she can pay, or if the attorney will accept the probate court fees.
The respondent has the right to attend the hearing, even if the hearing must be moved.
The respondent must receive by personal service a notice of the hearing that explains conservatorship and his/her rights. The case cannot proceed in court without proof of this notice.
At the hearing, medical evidence must be presented from at least one doctor, unless the judge finds this is not required for a specific reason, such as the person refuses to be examined.
At the hearing, the judge must
A conservator has only the powers and duties ordered by the probate court.
The conserved person keeps all rights and authorities not assigned to the conservator by the court.
The conserved person has the right to retain an attorney for any matter.
A conservator cannot agree to medications to treat mental illness unless the court specifically authorizes the conservator to consent to medication for a person who is hospitalized.
A conservator cannot change a conserved person’s residence (or place him/her in a nursing home) or dispose of a conserved person’s household furnishings without a court hearing.
A conservator must account to the court for money that is spent. The court must order annual accountings if asked by an interested party.
A conservator must carry out the duties and authorities in the least restrictive manner.
A conservator can be removed or his/her duties changed if the person no longer needs help.
CLRP will not appear as legal counsel in proceedings where legal counsel is provided by statute, but often represents clients in such matters by helping them understand the process and collaborating with appointed counsel on the case. For more information about conservators, contact the Connecticut Legal Rights Project.