A conservator is an individual who handles the financial or daily life affairs of a conservatee, or a party deemed incompetent by a court. The roles of conservator and conservatee follow from the legal concept of conservatorship which is similar to legal guardianship. Conservatorships are typically governed by state laws. In some jurisdictions, terms like guardian of the estate or trustee are used synonymously with conservator.
Both individuals and organizations can act as conservators. Individual conservators are generally appointed by a court while organization conservators are typically appointed through regulatory or statutory authority. Conservators owe fiduciary duties to their conservatees. Certain jurisdictions separate conservators depending on their role or extent of responsibility, such as a limited conservator, managing conservator, or possessory conservator.
For example, in Interest of S.M.A., the Court of Appeals of Texas affirmed the appointment of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services as a child’s permanent managing conservator and the child’s mother as the child’s possessory conservator.
[Last updated in August of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]