Limited conservatorships of the estate
The information in this Guide mainly covers a limited conservatorship of the person. That means that the limited conservator helps the person with a disability to be as independent as possible with their daily activities, living situation, and education. In some situations, the person with a disability has income or assets that also need to be managed in a limited conservatorship of the estate. This page offers general information for these types of conservatorships.
Figuring out if a conservatorship of the estate is needed
There are generally 3 possible scenarios.
1. The person has no estate
If the person with a disability
- Receives only public benefits as income, such as SSI
- Owns no assets or only owns the home where they live
Then, the court will consider them to not have an estate. If there is no estate, there is no need to request a conservatorship of the estate.
If you have concerns about managing the public benefits of a person with a disability, see the section above about becoming a representative payee.
2. The person has a small estate
If the person with a disability both
- Receives no more than $2,000 a month in income (not counting amounts received in the form of public benefits)
- Has no more than $15,000 in assets (not counting their home)
they may qualify for a limited conservatorship of a small estate. The small estate conservatorship does not require annual accountings or a bond.
3. The person has an estate
If the person with a disability either
- Has income that exceeds $2,000 a month (not counting amounts received in the form of public benefits)
- Owns more than $15,000 in assets (not counting the value of their home)
you may want to consider a limited conservatorship of the estate. This situation can arise when the person with a disability has received a settlement from a lawsuit, earns money from a job that exceeds the income limits, or inherits assets that are not held in a special needs trust.
If a conservatorship of the estate is needed
If the person with a disability has income and assets that would qualify them as having an estate, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney about the need for a limited conservatorship of the estate. An attorney can also advise you about the availability of a special needs trust, which is a way to hold money for a person with disabilities without that money affecting the benefits that a person can receive.
The forms that are used to ask the court to appoint a limited conservator of the person, also contain sections where the petitioner can indicate that they are also seeking a limited conservatorship of the estate.
A person who has been appointed as the limited conservator of the estate will need to make regular reports to the court on the finances of the limited conservatee.