Alabama Probate Law – Conservators and Guardians


What Is a Conservator?

A person who is appointed by the court to manage the property of a minor or incapacitated person.

Who is an incapacitated person?

A person who is unable to manage property and business affairs because of:

  • Mental illness
  • Mental Deficiency
  • Physical Illness
  • Infirmities Accompanying Advanced Age
  • Chronic Use of Drugs
  • Chronic Intoxication
  • Confinement
  • Detention by Foreign Power
  • Disappearance

Who can serve as a conservator will?

A family member of any interested person with with the priorities as follows:

  • Conservator appointed in another jurisdiction.
  • Person selected by incapacitated person.
  • Person designated by incapacitated persons power of attorney.
  • Spouse
  • Adult Child
  • Parent
  • relative with whom Ward has lived the last six months.
  • Nominee of person caring for incapacitated person.
  • Gen. Guardian of Sheriff.

When can a conservator be appointed?

A conservator may be appointed the incapacitated person:

  • is unable to manage property business affairs and
    • a. Has property that will be wasted without proper management; or
    • b. funds are needed to support the incapacitated person or one title to support from the incapacitated person.

What are the powers and duties of a conservator?

Without court authorization the conservator may:

  • invest and reinvest funds.
  • Retain assets.
  • Receive additions.
  • Acquire undivided interest.
  • Deposit funds and financial institutions. Acquire property.
  • Dispose of personal property.
  • Make repairs to buildings.
  • In releases of the five years.
  • Injure mineral leases.
  • Grant options up to one year.
  • Vote securities.
  • Pay assessments.
  • Sell or exercised stock options.
  • Deposit stocks and bonds.
  • Consent to reorganization, merger of business.
  • Insurer assets.
  • Bar to protect the estate.
  • Settle claims.
  • Pay reasonable and annual compensation to the conservator.
  • Pay taxes and expenses.
  • Allocate expenses to income.
  • Pay some for benefit of protected persons or his family.
  • Employ attorneys and archers.
  • Prosecute or defend claims.
  • Execute and deliver appropriate instruments.
  • Hold securities. (Court may limit powers of the conservator)
  • With prior court authorization the conservator may:
  • continue or participate in operating a business.
  • Demolish improvements.
  • Dispose of real estate.
  • So divide, dedicate land.
  • Leases greater than five years.
  • Grant an option more than one year.
  • Take on option to acquire property.

Am I required to have a lawyer?

The legal complexity of guardianships and conservatorships normally necessitates having an attorney does the probate judge cannot advise you of the wall provide you with forms.

What is the difference between a guardian and a conservator?

The Guardian looks after the person and their welfare while a conservator looks after their estate.

What are the steps followed in appoint a guardian or conservator for an adult?

  1. Petition filed.
  2. Appointment of a guardian ad litem.
  3. Examination by physician.
  4. Appointment of quartz representative.
  5. Hearing.
  6. Jury at hearing if demanded.
  7. Bond for conservator.
  8. Order granting petition.
  9. Inventory of property for conservator.
  10. Letters of guardianship and/or conservatorship.

Is a bond required?

Yes, a bond is required for conservatorships unless; the bond requirement is waived in a will or power of attorney.

Is an inventory required?

Each conservator must complete an inventory of the estate immediately file it with court within 90 days after the appointment.

Are accountings required?

Yes, a conservator must give an accounting to the court at least every three years. Court may order an accounting more frequently. Accounting is also required upon the resignation or removal of the conservator.

What is a guardian?

The parent of a minor or someone who has been appointed by the court to be the representative for the personal care of an individual.

What is a Ward?

It is the legal name for a minor or incapacitated adult for whom a guardian has been appointed.

Who can be a guardian for an adult?

Any qualified person may be appointed. However, the law establishes the following priorities:

  • person named in a durable power of attorney.
  • Spouse or spouses nominee.
  • Adult child.
  • Parent or parents nominee
  • relative with whom person has lived the prior six months.
  • Nominee or caretaker of person.

Who can be a guardian for a child?

The court may appoint any person who will be in the best interest of the minor. However, if the minor is 14 years old or older, the minor’s nominees must be appointed unless the appointment is contrary to the minor’s best interest.

Also, a parental nomination has priority.

Can a parent appoint a guardian?

Yes, in a will a parent may appoint a guardian for a minor child or for an unmarried incapacitated child.

Spouse appoint a guardian?

Yes, and will a person may appoint a guardian for his or her incapacitated spouse.

What are the powers of a guardian?

  • Must assume responsibilities of a parent regarding support, care and education.
  • Must become personally acquainted with Ward.
  • Must take reasonable care of Ward’s personal effects.
  • My supply available money for current needs or health, support, education and maintenance must conserve excess money.
  • Must conserve excess money.
  • Munson for the condition of the word to the court.
  • May receive limited funds for support of Ward.
  • May take custody of Ward and establish a home.
  • May compel payment of support.
  • May consent to medical care.
  • May consent to marriage or adoption.
  • May delegate certain responsibilities to award for the decision-making. (Court may limit power of guardianships)

When is guardianship end?

  • Upon death of Ward.
  • Upon resignation of the guardian.
  • Upon adoption of the minor.
  • Upon the marriage of the minor.
  • Upon the minor becoming an adult.
  • When Ward’s incapacity is terminated.