If you have an aging parent that is no longer able to take care of the decisions regarding their personal and financial life you could be appointed a guardian. A guardianship is only put in place if a court has deemed that your adult parents are incapable of making their own responsible decisions, thus appointing a guardian or a conservator. This is a legal relationship that gives you, the guardian or conservator the right to make legal, health care and financial decisions for your parent, the ward.
Read on to learn about the different types of guardianship and what decisions you have the legal right to make on your aging parents behalf. To learn how to put a guardianship in place in the state of Utah, click here.
Guardianship vs. Conservatorship
In the state of Utah a guardianship is the legal arrangement that puts you in the role of guardian or custodian over a person. Your job is to provide for the health and well-being of that person while a conservator is the court-appointed individual that provides for the financial well-being of the protected person.
As guardian you would have the following responsibilities:
- Choosing and maintaining the home of the person you are caring for.
- Providing consent for non-medical and medical services.
- Paying debts and other expenses.
- Making end-of-life decisions (if they don’t already have a directive in place)
- Helping to maintain the protected persons autonomy where possible.
As conservator you would have the following responsibilities:
- Arrange for property appraisals
- Organize, gather and protect assets
- Make payments on their behalf
- Manage income from assets
- Obtain court approval prior to any sale of major assets
- Report to the court on the estate’s status on a regular basis.
- Safeguard property and assets from loss as much as possible.
The same person can be appointed guardian and conservator for a person and their estate in the state of Utah.
What specific financial Duties do I have as Conservator?
When you are put in charge of managing a protected persons property then you need to determine what the person can afford, their accustomed standard of living and any other sources of money to support the protected person, such as Medicaid.
As conservator you will also oversee their debts such as mortgage, credit cards, taxes, utilities, insurance and any other loans or past due bills. Filing yearly income tax returns is also a duty that is overseen by the conservator. For the full law on managing the protected person’s property, click here.
Can I Sell their Home as Conservator?
If there is not enough money in the persons estate to pay all their expenses then you may need to sell assets, such as a home, to meet the expenses. In this scenario you’ll need to consult with the protected person before selling. Selling a home often means selling or downsizing many of the things in the home and you’ll want to take into account the sentimentality of certain items in the home to the protected person.
When selling an asset keep in mind that the sale could affect the protected person’s eligibility for Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid or other government benefits.
Selling a large asset like a home can also bring income tax or capital gains with consequences so consulting an accountant or a lawyer who can advise you on the taxes would be an important step.
Finally, as conservator you cannot sell the asset to a family member or friend to give them a special deal or reduced cost. Doing so could make you liable for the balance and could cause you to be removed by the court.
Options For Selling a Home under Guardianship/Conservatorship
Taking care of an elderly parent who is no longer able to make their own decisions without help is a big job. If you determine that it’s necessary to sell the home to help with the expenses of the estate then you are dealing with the extra challenge of going through a home, preparing it for sale and selling many belongings at the same time.
Oftentimes in a guardianship and conservatorship it makes sense for the protected person to move in with the guardian or to be moved into a facility where they can receive care. In situations like this, holding on to the family home no longer makes sense and can add to the financial burden in terms of care, taxes and upkeep.
Traditionally you would want to clean up a home, prepare it for showing, possibly hire a stager or a realtor to help show the home. You would need to clear out a lot of the clutter and personal belongings that don’t show well and possibly even need to fix up issues with the home that could badly affect a sale.
If dealing with all of that extra work on top of taking care of your parent is just too much to deal with then you might want to consider selling your home to a trusted house buying company like Gary Buys Houses. By selling the home directly to a house buying company you receive a quick cash purchase offer and avoid the costs of repair, marketing, listing and agent commissions. Gary Buys Houses also offers a program we call “Sell Now Move Later.” It’s intended to help in situations where you need to sell the house right away but might not be ready to move right away. We’ll purchase your house as is in as little as three business days; and you can stay in the home for 2-3 months while you wrap up the final details of the move and the personal assets in the home.