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A conservator is a court-appointed individual who handles financial or daily life affairs of a conservatee.  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.  Terms such as guardian of the estate or trustee are used to refer to the concept of conservator in certain jurisdictions.

A conservator may be appointed by a court (usually for individuals) or by regulatory or statutory authority (usually for organizations).  Conservators owe fiduciary duties to their conservatees.  Certain jurisdictions tag conservators depending on their role or extent of responsibility, such as, limited conservator (who has limited responsibility of conservatee’s affairs), managing conservator (in the context of a guardian who has custody of a child), possessory conservator (in the context of a guardian who visitation rights to child), and more.

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 May of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]