Conservatorship

Section § 93-13-251, which governs the establishment of conservatorships, provides as follows:      

 

       If a person by reason of advanced age, physical incapacity or mental weakness is incapable of managing his own estate,

       the chancery court of the county wherein such person resides may, upon the petition of such   person or of one or more

       of his friends or relatives, appoint a conservator to have charge and management of the property of such person, and

       if the court deems it advisable, also to have charge and custody of the person subject to the direction of the appointing

       court.

 

Miss. Code Ann. § 93-13-251. 

 

In order to establish that an individual is incapacitated, affidavits of at least two physicians or psychologists are required.  These affidavits must indicate that an individual is incapable of caring for himself or herself and/or managing his business affairs due to advanced age, physical incapacity, and/or mental weakness.
  

After an incapacitated individual has been served, at least five (5) days must elapse before a hearing can be conducted.  In Harvey v. Meador, the Mississippi Supreme Court adopted the management competency test in order to evaluate the need for a conservatorship.  Harvey v. Meador, 459, So. 2d 288, 292 (Miss. 1984).  Courts evaluate the following factors:  (1) ability to manage, (2) improvident disposition, (3) dissipation of property, (4) susceptibility to influence, (5) deception by others, and (6) other similar factors.  If the chancellor finds sufficient evidence of incapacity, a conservatorship is established.  After the order is signed by the chancellor, letters of conservatorship are issued.  The conservator is required to sign an oath that is prescribed by statute.  Conservators have duties, powers, and responsibilities as established in Miss. Code Ann. §§ 93-13-259.  Generally, conservators should not dispose of any assets without the court’s approval.      

 

After a hearing is conducted, additional steps might be required.  Unless waived, a conservator must provide bond to the State of Mississippi.  Miss. Code Ann. § 93-13-17 governs this aspect of conservatorships.   Within three (3) months of the conservatorship being established, an inventory of the incapacitated individual’s property must be completed.  While the conservatorship is in existence, an inventory is required to be filed on an annual basis if the value of the incapacitated individual’s estate increases.  Miss. Code Ann. § 93-13-33 governs this aspect of conservatorships.  In most cases, the conservator is required to provide an annual accounting of all funds; however, this requirement can be waived.  For example, an annual accounting of is not required if the value of an incapacitated individual’s personal property and funds does not exceed $3,000.  Miss. Code Ann. § 93-13-67 governs this aspect of conservatorships.  When a conservatorship ends, a final accounting is required.                                                 

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