There may come a time when you need to help a loved one tend to certain matters that they can no longer take care of themselves. This may occur in a number of ways. You may become responsible for someone through a power of attorney, or through a conservatorship. It is important to know the difference between each of these arrangements and how they can be created. Read on to learn more.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney (POA) allows you to give another individual the power to make important decisions on your behalf. This may become necessary in the event of incapacitation. This will give the individual the power to handle things like property, tax returns, medical records, bills, and more. This is a lot of responsibility, so it is important that you choose someone you trust.

What is a Conservatorship?

A conservatorship can be set up when a person becomes incapacitated.  In order to initiate a conservatorship, a petition must be filed with the court.  During the proceeding(s), a judge can hear evidence as to whether or not the individual is truly incapacitated and if she/he is unable to make decisions for his/herself.  If there is a finding of incapacitation, the Court may grant a general or limited conservatorship based on the level of incapacitation.

So, What is the Difference?

It is important to realize that there are many differences between a conservatorship and a power of attorney.  One difference is that a power of attorney is typically set up prior to an individual becoming incapacitated, while a conservatorship typically comes into effect after an individual becomes incapacitated. For example, an individual who did not create a power of attorney in advance may need a conservatorship in the event of incapacitation. Secondly, a petition to the court is required to appoint a conservator while court intervention may not be required for a power of attorney.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding powers of attorneys, conservatorships, or any other estate planning matters, contact our firm today. We are here to walk you through the process every step of the way.

Contact our Firm

The Lauterbach Law Firm is proud to serve clients throughout Rockland County who are faced with legal matters related to estate planning, real estate, foreclosure defense, landlord-tenant law, business law, and criminal defense. If you require the services of an experienced team of attorneys, contact The Lauterbach Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.