These are the basic instructions on what you will need to file regarding conservatorship of a minor. At the bottom of this instruction page will be a list of forms that are required to file for guardianship.
NOTE: ALL FORMS MUST BE TYPEWRITTEN OR PRINTED NEATLY IN BLACK INK ONLY
The Probate Code defines ”Conservator” as having responsibility over the financial estate. When a minor owns property or needs representation in a legal action, then that minor may need a conservator.
Any person who is interested in the individual’s welfare may complete a Petition for Appointment of Conservator and file it, along with the filing fee of $187.00, payable to the Antrim County Probate Court. The person to be appointed conservator must also file an Acceptance of Appointment.
The Court will then schedule a hearing date and time and properly notify the persons who have a right to know about the hearing. If necessary, the Court may also appoint someone called a Guardian ad Litem to investigate and represent the individual in the court proceeding. Reimbursement for this must be made to the Guardian ad Litem.
On the date of the hearing, the petitioner and anyone else who wants to take part in the hearing goes before the Judge to give testimony. The Judge will decide whether to appoint a conservator.
If you are requesting both a guardian and conservator, the hearing can be a combined hearing on both Petitions.
Letters of Authority are proof of appointment and empower you to act on behalf of the “Ward”. They are used to establish bank/investment accounts, change social security payments, etc. You will be provided with one free certified copy (with the Court seal) of your Letters of Authority. Additional certified copies are $12.00 each.
Within 56 days after appointment, the Conservator must file with the Court an Inventory along with a restricted account agreement. A RESTRICTED ACCOUNT AGREEMENT MUST BE SIGNED BY THE INSTITUTION WHERE THE FUNDS ARE MAINTAINED AND FILED WITH THE COURT. The Inventory lists the minor’s assets at the time of appointment. Assets may consist of real estate, checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, CDs, and personal belongings and everything in which the minor has an interest. You must contact family members, banks, facilities providing care, credit unions, etc., to determine the assets. With the exception of real estate, those assets should be converted to an account in the Ward’s name, with your name on the account as conservator.
The conservator must keep careful records of all income of the minor and all disbursements of the minor’s funds. You alone are responsible for the assets. Do not permit family members, facilities or others to retain partial control, and be sure to keep those assets separate from your own personal assets. Never “borrow” from the minor’s assets.
Each year, on the anniversary date of appointment, the Conservator must file an Annual Accounting with the Probate Court. Copies must be served on the interested parties, including the minor if 14 years of age or older, and a Proof of Service filed with the Court. The filing fee is $20.00 for the accounting each year. This fee should be entered as a disbursement on the accounting.
Anyone, including the minor who is at least 14 years of age, may file a petition to terminate or appoint a new conservator. When the minor reaches 18 years of age or dies, the court should be notified so that the conservatorship can be ended and the court’s case closed. Before the conservator can be discharged, a final account will have to be filed and approved by the court. The minor (now an adult) must receive whatever assets remain in his or her estate.
It is important that you keep accurate records. Your checkbook and your calendar can serve as valuable resources when preparing the annual accounting. THE SALE OF REAL ESTATE OR WITHDRAWAL OF FUNDS CAN ONLY BE DONE BY COURT ORDER. If you have questions regarding any procedure, please feel free to call the Probate Court for assistance.