Conservators and guardians are court-appointed individuals with a fiduciary role, making decisions on behalf of a minor or incapacitated person, more commonly referred to as the protected person. In certain cases the probate court may deem an additional guarantee in the form of a surety bond be in place to protect the well being of the protected person. Jet provides this guarantee to the probate court for the conservator or guardian allowing them to provide their services for the individual.
APPLY FOR BOND
A conservator is responsible for the financial matters of the protected person not capable of making decisions for themselves. A guardian refers to two different roles: 1) someone taking care of a minor until the minor reaches the age of 18, or 2) someone who makes medical decisions for the protected person.
The bond is enforced on the state level to protect the incapacitated person or minor from negligent or dishonest actions by the fiduciary. The role of a fiduciary can be complicated and provide an open door to criminal behavior, so the court may deem it necessary if circumstances are such that risk to the protected person is increased.
The bond limit for this surety bond is determined by the court based on the value of the protected person’s assets. Prior to fulfilling fiduciary duties the conservator or guardian must purchase the bond. Even though bond limits can be up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in coverage, Jet Insurance Company only charges a small percentage of the bond limit.
Smaller bond limits only require straight-forward information such as the fiduciary’s name and the bond limit. Larger bond limits require underwriting review of the fiduciary’s credit score and personal financials by Jet.
Conservators are appointed to manage the finances of a person who is not mentally or physically able to take care of themselves.
Some responsibilities of a conservator include, but are not limited to:
Duties of conservators differ from state to state. The conservator should read and understand the general statutes associated with being a fiduciary in the state they are appointed in.
A conservator is responsible for the protected person’s financial affairs until the protected person becomes self-sufficient or passes away.
Guardians of minors are responsible for making all decisions for the minor while acting in their best interest. Duties include paying bills, providing proper education, and purchasing daily necessities.
In most states, guardians of incapacitated individuals are liable for medical decisions including:
Each state has varying requirements for guardians, so it is important to read through the statutes for the appropriate state.
Guardians are accountable for care of the minor until the minor reaches the age of 18. Guardians of incapacitated persons are liable for medical decisions until the person becomes independent or passes away.
The role of the fiduciary is an important one. Those acting as a conservator or guardian often find themselves in sticky situations, which is why it is best to follow regulations put in place by the state and act in the best interest of the protected person. Sometimes fiduciaries prefer to work with attorneys to make the process as smooth as possible and as reassurance that the duties are being fulfilled according to the law.
Many actions can lead to disciplinary action against the fiduciary, some of which include: violation of regulations in accordance with state laws, failure to provide necessary resources for the protected person, and incorrect or lack of accounting presented to the court.
Say for example that Bruce Wayne as a child is placed under the guardianship of Alfred. If Alfred acts in the best interest of Bruce, everything goes smoothly. However, Alfred decides to siphon some of the wealth left towards Bruce to build an Alfred-mobile to fight crime. Commissioner Gordon notices something is wrong and brings a claim to the court that Bruce’s estate has been mismanaged by Alfed to the court. Alfred is liable for these damaging actions against the ward in his care, which lead to civil penalties and a claim on the Guardian Bond (which thankfully was required by the probate court prior to Alfred’s appointment) to recover losses.
Complaints can be brought to the court's attention by anyone who believes the fiduciary is not fulfilling their role. This could be a family member, friend, hospital worker, bank, or even the court themselves. Issues not addressed after the court’s order can result in a claim against the bond for reimbursement to the affected party.
If the guardian or conservator does not follow court orders to correct a complaint or error, the bond may be pursued for reimbursement. All claims come to the Surety (Jet) through the county circuit court, which will be reviewed and investigated thoroughly by Jet. Should the claim be valid Jet will have to make payment for the damages up to the limit of the bond. The conservator or guardian would be liable for paying Jet back, as they remain responsible for their own actions. Think of the bond as an extension of credit, giving the courts a guarantee the conservator or guardian can handle their responsibilities.
Jet’s application process can be completed in just minutes! The application takes you through the necessary fields one at a time so nothing is missed. Some of the information needed includes the conservator’s or guardian’s name, the bond limit, and the address where the bond should be sent to. A soft credit check is required for larger bond limits due to the increased financial risk, but don’t worry it doesn’t affect your credit score!
|District of Columbia|