There are critical items that a conservator must discuss with an attorney when acting as a conservator or when having been appointed as a co-conservator of a person or estate.
The following is a list of some of the important matter, but not a comprehensive one:
- Set up the books and records of the conservatorship on day one.
- Keep receipts of everything in a paper file with a description of the item.
- Do not pay yourself a fee without a prior court order.
- Do not reimburse yourself for costs without a prior court order.
- Immediately get help from a CPA or accountant to know what you will need to provide at tax time, as you will be responsible to file the conservatee’s tax return, if you are acting as conservator of the estate.
- Hire caregivers from reputable agencies.
- If you are hiring caregivers privately, you must have an agreement with them, comply with tax withholding laws, and should not work any caregiver more than an 8 hour shift in a day. You must provide state mandated breaks and lunch periods. Payroll tax is one of the areas of mistakes among conservators.
- Carry Workers’ Comp insurance as a rider to the homeowner’s insurance or set it up separately through a company such as Paychex. Let professionals handle all of the payroll requirements.
- Be sure you have adequate homeowner’s insurance, liability, fire and worker’s compensation insurance for the conservatorship estate.
- Keep your assets separate from the assets of the conservatee. Do not mix your money with the money of the conservatee.
- If you have a co-conservator, set up regular meetings in person or by phone to avoid misunderstandings and problems in communication.
- If you have a co-conservator, you should each consider having separate counsel.
Talk to a Conservator’s attorney, by calling Mina Sirkin at 818.340.4479 or meet us at our La County Glendale Pasadena office for attorney help for conservators.