Here is the scenario: You have been appointed by the court as someone's Guardian and/or conservator because it has been determined they now lack capacity due to illness or accident, and had no estate planning documents in place. Since they can no longer take care of their own affairs themselves, what happens now?
After you have been appointed Guardian and Conservator by the court over someone, there is still more to be done! Here is a list of important things you need to be aware of after the court proceedings have taken place that you will be responsible for:
- File the “Report of Guardian for an Incapacitated Adult” with the appropriate department of social services within four months of qualification. There is a $5.00 filing fee that should be made payable to Department of Social Services and sent in with the completed “Report of Guardian for an Incapacitated Adult.” You must file this report annually.
- Obtain a Federal EIN (Employee Identification Number) from the IRS. In your search engine, type “how to apply for EIN” and choose the site that has www.irs.gov as part of the link. The type of legal structure that is applying is your first question; you will choose “Trusts.” Then you will read the requested information carefully and follow the instructions.
- Open a conservatorship checking account. (You will need your EIN printout and your “Certificate/Letter of Qualification.)
- Have any income that is direct deposited into the ward’s checking account moved to be direct deposited into the conservatorship account. **If the ward is in the nursing home and going to be or is on Medicaid, we recommend having the nursing home become rep-payee.
- Once the ward’s income has been re-routed, close the personal checking account and deposit and remaining funds into the conservatorship checking account.
- If there are investment accounts, open a new account in the name of the conservatorship and transfer holdings. This can be done and kept within the same financial institution
- If there are CD’s, change ownership in the name of the conservatorship or cash in. If you cash in, be sure to have taxes withheld if applicable.
- Be sure to get a statement or history printout for any and all financial accounts to show transactions from the date you qualified to the date you closed the account. *Note if any account was held with “survivorship,” TOD (transfer on death), or POD (payable on death).
- Make sure to keep all bank statements from all accounts.
- We recommend paying expenses with checks and making a copy so there is a paper trail. Also, keep copies of all invoices, bills, etc.
- Within six (6) months of qualification, file your inventory with the appropriate commissioner of accounts. This will be the value of the ward’s assets on the exact date of your qualification. If you are unsure who your commissioner of accounts is, you can call the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office where you qualified.
- There will be an annual accounting due to the commissioner of accounts. If you are unsure of the due date, your assigned commissioner of accounts’ office will be able to provide you with the due date.
If you would like our guidance in the process, a one-time, in-person consult with our fiduciary paralegal can be scheduled for a fee of $150.00. Should you wish for our office to manage the entire process, we will be able to quote a fee after the first consultation with the fiduciary paralegal and the assets have been reviewed. There is a minimum fee of $500.00 for this service, however, an exact fee will be agreed upon before any work is done by our office.