A conservator is someone whom the court appoints to protect an incapacitated adult’s financial and business affairs. The county where the incapacitated person resides is the court responsible for appointing a conservator. S.C. Code Ann Section 62-5-410 is what the probate courts refer to when deciding who has the authority to act as a conservator for someone.
Filing a Petition to an SC Court and Paying Fees
To start the process of appointing a conservator, a summons and petition, form 540PC, has to be filed with the appropriate court. There is an initial filing fee that must be paid, and then additional fees may be assessed later in the process. The court will appoint a Guardian ad Litem who is an attorney to represent the incapacitated person’s interests in court.
Physical and Mental Exams for the Adult
The court appoints at least one individual to assess the mental and physical condition of the incapacitated adult and report their findings to the court. This person must be a licensed physician. In most situations, the court will appoint more than one examiner because a guardianship action was also filed. There is some flexibility with the second examiner appointed. He or she can be a nurse, psychologist, social worker, or another medical professional.
Background Checks for the Guardianship
A potential conservator must provide additional information before their appointment is approved. He or she is required to submit to a background check and provide a copy of their credit report from the state where they reside. The court will examine both reports and look for red flags like unpaid accounts and/or criminal records.
Giving Notice to Both Parties
The petition must be served on necessary parties, the potential incapacitated person, and their Guardian ad Litem. Other parties that may need notice include the nearest relatives. Proof of service has to be filed with the court. Once the parties are served, they have 30 days to file an answer. If there have no objections, they can file a waiver which relinquishes any rights they have to the conservatorship proceedings.
Special Situations in SC Conservator Cases
It’s pretty common to have more than one family member who has legal priority to serve as the incapacitated adult’s conservator. In these situations, people have the right to renounce themselves and nominate another family member they believe is the best person to act as the conservator.
SC Conservator Hearing
Once the answer is filed, the court will schedule a hearing. All involved parties receive notice 20 days in advance so they have time to make arrangements to appear. The hearing gives the petitioner an opportunity to present evidence that supports their reasoning that a conservator needs to be appointed. In addition, they will make the recommendation on who is the best person to serve in that position. Once all parties have presented evidence, the judge will make a ruling on the matter.
Before the conservator is appointed, there must be a surety bond or restricted account agreement filed as well.
Retaining a South Carolina Conservatorship Attorney
If you have questions regarding conservatorships, or you need to have a conservator appointed for an incapacitated adult, it’s important you speak with a knowledgeable Greenville conservatorship attorney. Contact the Elliott Frazier Law Firm online or call our office at 864-256-3553 to schedule an appointment.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.