What is the Difference Between a Power of Attorney and a Conservatorship

A Power of Attorney and a Conservatorship might sound similar, but in reality, they are different processes and situations for each. Continue reading to discover the differences between a Power of Attorney and a Conservatorship and the details of both options. Contact our firm today to learn what the best process is for you.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney or POA is a legal document put into place when an individual cannot act on their own behalf. The POA grants power to an individual who is labeled as the “agent.” This person should be a trusted individual who can act on behalf of someone else. An agent can be a friend, family member, or business entity. It should be someone the individual trusts to handle their affairs. The POA can handle finances, signing off on real estate, making health decisions, handling business matters, and more depending on the agreed-upon document. There are several different types of POA in Maryland. The POA options in Maryland are as follows:

  • General Power of Attorney: The agent has power of attorney over personal or business financial matters
  • Limited Power of Attorney: The agent has authority for one specific transaction or for a predetermined period of time they will have the authority of transactions
  • Durable Power of Attorney: The agent can make decisions in the event that the individual becomes incapacitated.

What is a conservatorship?

A Conservatorship is put into place when a person becomes incapacitated. This will be filed with the court through a petition. A judge will hear evidence of if the individual is incapacitated and if they are able to make decisions for themselves. In the circumstances that the court finds the individual is incapacitated, the court will grand a general or limited Conservatorship. The Conservatorship that the court grants will be based on the level of incapacitation. A person can become incapacitated for some of the following reasons: an accident, disability, or disease. A conservator will manage all assets for their loved one. This may include finances, property, and investments of the incapacitated individual. The conservator is also responsible for taxes and bills being paid in a timely manner. Taking the role of a conservator is a huge responsibility and should not be taken lightly. Contact an experienced estate planning attorney today to receive proper guidance on being a responsible conservator.

What is the difference between a Power of Attorney and a Conservatorship?

Some of the main differences between a Power of Attorney and a Conservatorship are as follows:

  • A POA is set up prior to incapacitation
  • Conservatorships are set up after an individual becomes incapacitated.
  • Court intervention is not required for a Power of Attorney.
  • Appointing a conservator requires a petition to the court.

Contact a Maryland Elder Law Attorney

If you are the loved one of a person who has become incapacitated and needs help managing their financial affairs, it may be a good idea to consider a conservatorship. Of course, this is a major responsibility and should not be taken without great consideration. It is best to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney who can assess your situation and advise you on how best to proceed. Contact JD Katz today for quality legal representation.