FAQS – Questions and answers about Utah Conservatorships

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FAQS about Conservatorships in Utah

For more information about Utah guardianships and conservatorships, see “Utah Guardianships and Conservatorships“.

Elderly woman learning about Utah conservatorships
What is a conservator? *

A conservator is a person who is appointed by a court to manage the estate (money and property) of a protected person who is legally incompetent to manage his or her own financial affairs.

How does a conservator differ from a guardian? *

A conservator is sometimes called a “guardian of the property”. This differs from a “guardian of the person,” or “guardian” under Utah law. The conservator makes financial decisions, and the guardian makes personal decisions for an incapacitated person.

Because the duties are different, courts commonly appoint someone as both “guardian and conservator” of an incompetent person.

When is a conservator needed? *

In Utah, a conservator is needed for a person that is “unable to manage his or her property” and affairs effectively for reasons such as mental illness, mental deficiency, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication, confinement, detention by a foreign power, or disappearance; and..has property which will be wasted or dissipated unless proper management is provided or that funds are needed for the support, care, and welfare of the person or those entitled to be supported by the person and protection is necessary or desirable to obtain or provide funds. (Utah Probate Code, section 75-5-401)

How is a conservator appointed? *

A conservator for a senior must be appointed by an order of the probate division of a Utah District Court. (Utah Probate Code, section 75-5-401)

Who can file to have a conservator appointed? *

A petition for appointment of a conservator may be filed by any person who is interested in his estate, affairs, or welfare, including his parent, guardian, or custodian, or any person who would be adversely affected by lack of effective management of his property and affairs (Utah Probate Code, section 75-5-404). “Interested” means a spouse, a child, an heir, a creditor, a beneficiary, or any person who has a direct financial interest (“pecuniary interest”) in the incapacitated person’s affairs. (Utah Probate Code, section 75-1-201 (22); In re Cloward’s Estate, 82 P2d 336 (Utah Supreme Court, 1938)).

What is the court procedure for appointing a conservator? *

When a Utah conservatorship petition is filed, the court is required to set a hearing date and appoint a lawyer to represent the person who is alleged to need protection if he or she does not already have a guardianship lawyer. (Utah Probate Code, section 75-5-407)

The District Court may appoint an independent physician and/or a visitor to examine the person who is alleged to be incapacitated and to file a written report with the court. (Utah Probate Code, section 75-5-407)

The hearing can be closed to the public at the request of the person who is alleged to be incapacitated. At the hearing, the court will hear testimony and decide whether a conservator is to be appointed.

Hire a Utah guardianship attorney *

Our lead Elder Law Attorney, Jack Helgesen, has over 30 years of experience with conservatorships. Please call us today or come in for a free consultation of your case and how we can help you.

Helgesen, Houtz & Jones $$(801) 544-5306