Typically, when someone becomes a legal adult at the age of 18, they no longer need to worry about other people making decisions on their behalf. They have control over their lives and also the right to privacy.
Adults have the authority to choose their own medical care and manage their resources, even if they do so poorly. However, some people are truly incapable of independent living because of health concerns. The state of Oregon will sometimes grant another legal adult authority to handle the affairs or finances of an individual struggling with independent living.
Guardianship is the term for another adult having authority over the daily needs of a vulnerable adult. A conservatorship involves the state appointing a conservatory to manage an adult’s financial resources. Does your loved one require the support of a conservator?
Mistakes and financial issues might lead to conservatorships
Perhaps your loved one has started to struggle with handling their own needs as they have aged. They forget to pay their mortgage or utility bills, resulting in foreclosure letters or their electricity getting turned off by the power company.
Especially when there is also a medical diagnosis affirming that someone may have a compromised ability to manage their own affairs, you may have grounds to request a conservatorship. Oregon State law specifically allows a judge to empower another adult to take control over someone’s financial matters when they have shown an inability to manage their own resources.
A conservatorship would give you access to a struggling adult’s financial accounts and empower you to negotiate with their creditors and pay their bills. You would also then have the responsibility of managing their resources in the future to meet their ongoing support needs.
A conservatorship is a big responsibility
Conservatorships, like guardianships, often persist until someone dies. That might mean a decade or more of having financial responsibility for someone else. If your family has a reason for concern about someone’s inability to manage their personal resources and pay their bills, you may need to start gathering evidence to support your concerns.
Going to probate court to request a conservatorship can help you provide crucial support to a vulnerable family member when they can no longer manage their own financial matters successfully.