A conservator is a person who is given authority by Probate Court to be responsible for the assets (called an "estate") of an adult, who is called a "protected individual" (PI).  A conservator can be nominated by a petition filed with the Probate Court.  If this person is an individual with developmental disabilities, please see this page for a slightly different, but mandatory, appointment procedure for guardians of the person/estate.

When is a conservator needed?
When the individual is unable to manage his or her property or business affairs effectively because of either:  

    -Mental illness                  -Mental deficiency                    -Physical illness
    -Physical disability            -Chronic use of drugs              -Chronic intoxication
    -Confinement                    -Detention by foreign power    -Disappearance
    -Age or physical infirmity*

*If the individual joins in the request for a conservator's appointment and proper management is required because of either of the following:

    -The individual has property that will be wasted or dissipated, or
    -Funds are needed for the support, care and welfare of the individual or those 
      entitled to be supported by that individual.

What is the difference between guardianship and conservatorship?
A guardian has responsibility over the ward's health care and well being, whereas a conservator has the responsibility over the ward's finances and assets.  Be aware that a guardian may be able handle regular income such as pension or social security without a conservatorship.

Who may petition the Court for a conservatorship?
*    The individual alleged to need protection,
    *    Any person who is interested in the individual's estate, affairs or welfare,
    *    Or any person who would be adversely affected by lack of effective 
          management of the individual's property and business affairs.

Where should a petition be filed (venue)?
A conservatorship for an individual alleged to need protection may be initiated in Lenawee County if the alleged PI resides in Lenawee County.  If the alleged PI does not reside in the State of Michigan, a conservatorship may still be initiated in Lenawee County if the alleged PI's property to be protected is located in Lenawee County.


Minor conservatorships are created so that someone, typically a parent, can preserve significant assets that belong to a minor ward and increase their value as much as possible before turning them over to the ward when they turn 18.  The money that is the subject of a conservatorship belongs to the minor ward, not to the conservator, and generally may not be used to provide routine care and support for the minor.

ADULT CONSERVATORSHIP - The purpose and function of an adult conservatorship is different than that of a minor conservatorship in a couple of respects.  First, adult conservatorships are not typically restricted:  the funds of an adult ward are designed to be used for the ward's current needs and expenses (as opposed to being preserved to be turned over on some future date).

**NOTE**  Since the above-described legal procedures, responsibilities, and duties can substantially effect the rights of the protected individuals, as well as subject the conservator to personal liability, it is recommended that the person seeking to be appointed (or one who is actually appointed as conservator) consult with an attorney.