If one of your children has a disability, you may wonder, as your child approaches adulthood, whether they can successfully manage their finances. If it is possible that they will not be able to manage their finances on their own, a conservatorship may be the best way to ensure that their money management needs are met. A conservatorship is a legal relationship which is created by the Probate Court which gives a person called the conservator the power to make financial and business decisions for an individual called the protectee. In Kansas, a conservator may be appointed if the Court decides that the person is not able to manage his or her financial affairs independently. Making the decision to pursue a conservatorship for an adult child is not easy because parents naturally want to protect their children from the effects of managing their finances poorly while at the same time supporting their children in utilizing whatever financial skills they do have.
When a person reaches the age of eighteen, they are presumed to be capable of making personal and financial decisions for themselves. This presumption can be concerning for any parent because some young adults are not adept at managing their finances responsibly. Physical and mental disabilities affect each person who has them in unique ways. That means that it is entirely possible that your child is completely capable of managing his or her finances. It’s also possible that your child may not know how to handle his or her money. Most likely, though, your child’s financial skills fall somewhere in the middle – neither entirely capable of managing his or her finances nor completely unskilled at doing so. When you are thinking about your child’s disability regarding whether to pursue conservatorship, know that conservatorship will be deemed appropriate by a Court if the proposed protectee’s impaired judgment of capacity poses a significant threat to their financial welfare. In some cases, a medical examination by a licensed health care professional may be necessary, but it is not always needed.
As parents, you know your child best. You understand better than anyone how their disability affects their life. You also know a lot about their financial situation, such as whether they have a job and what assets they have or stand to inherit any in the future. All of these things will factor into your choice to pursue conservatorship.
Parents who wish to appoint a conservator for their adult child should be aware that conservatorships are relatively complicated and costly. They also require the ongoing involvement and assistance of a family law attorney. However, many parents take comfort in the high degree of court oversight of conservatorships. Conservators keep detailed records of financial activity, and they are required to file documents with the court regularly. Major decisions, such as those involving real estate, sometimes require additional legal proceedings before a conservator may go ahead with them.
If you would like to pursue conservatorship for your child, Kansas Family Law Attorney Thomas McDowell would be honored to assist you. Please call us today, at (316) 633-4322 to make an appointment for your initial consultation.