Often family members receive priority when it comes to being appointed conservator of an incapacitated adult. If a conservator – who has control over the finances of the ward – is also named as a beneficiary in the ward’s will or recipient of some other of the ward’s assets upon death, the argument goes that the conservator is incentivized to not spend funds in support of the ward. Is this a conflict of interest that precludes appointment of such a conservator or warrants removal?
In In re Estate of Lorraine McKitrick (via FindLaw), the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed a probate court’s order that it did not. In this case, the conservator was the ward’s son and had a potential death benefit in the ward’s accounts. The ward had complained that the conservator refused to “spend any of the corpus of the Estate on the items that the Ward desires” and had “been dilatory in paying necessary items.” The probate court, however, found that there was no showing that the conflict resulted in harm to the ward. Because there was no transcript of the probate court hearing filed on appeal, the Court of Appeal “must presume the evidence was as the probate court found and its judgment correct on all issues presented.”