Conservators and guardians, when placed in charge of an elderly individual, often are also responsible for their assets and finances. Guardians and conservators can be appointed by an individual in case they need care. If such a person is not named, courts may appoint a professional, non-profit or government conservator to step in.

A guardian or conservator is meant to manage the affairs of someone who is unable to do so in a way that supports their well-being. Sadly, not everyone who is a conservator has the best interest in their conservatee in mind. The National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse explains some of the warning signs of abuse by a conservator and guardian:

Your loved one…

  • Doesn’t have a phone
  • Doesn’t get their mail
  • Seems sluggish or dazed

The guardian, conservator or other caretakers…

  • Treat you as an outsider or are disrespectful
  • Doesn’t leave you alone with your loved one
  • Doesn’t want you to visit rooms other than the dining or recreation rooms
  • Says that your visits upset your loved one
  • Shuts you out of your loved one’s care
  • Will not take your calls or answer questions truthfully

You notice…

  • Questionable documents
  • Changes to or closing of financial accounts
  • Financial statements go to the conservator
  • Taxes are not filed or are missing
  • Things are missing from your loved one’s home

If you believe that your loved one’s conservator or guardian is taking advantage and abusing them, physically or financially, you should always write down what you observe. Obtain any questionable documents that point towards exploitation and bring them to an attorney who specializes in elder law.