Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Can a Guardian or Conservator File for Bankruptcy on Behalf of the Protected Person?

A guardian is responsible for managing the personal affairs of another individual such as living arrangements and health care. A guardian does not have authority to manage the assets of that individual, unless that individual does not have any assets aside from monthly income. If this individual has significant debts, it might be in the that individual's best financial interest to file for bankruptcy, and the guardian would be able to file for bankruptcy on their behalf.

If the protected person has assets, an appointed conservator would be the only individual with authority to file for bankruptcy on the protected person's behalf, as the one charged with managing the individual's property and business affairs. A conservator is bound by the standards of care under the Prudent Investor Act, and if this standard is met and bankruptcy is appropriate, a conservator would be able to file for bankruptcy on behalf of the protected person.

Be aware, however, if the protected person owes a debt to the guardian or conservator, there is a potential conflict of interest that could arise in the context of either a bankruptcy petition, or the probate and family court. Further, guardians and conservators are required to file annual reports with the probate and family court, and filing for bankruptcy on behalf of the protected person would likely be met with scrutiny by a judge.

All of this assumes, of course, that the protected person is eligible for bankruptcy. To see if you or someone you care about are eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, check out our Means Test Calculator.

Should you have questions about your options under the United States Bankruptcy Code, contact Attorney Matthew P. Trask for an initial consultation.

Should you have any questions about guardianship or conservatorshipcontact Attorney Jonathan R. Eaton, or call 508.655.5980 to schedule an initial consultation.

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