Arizona Revised Statutes Section 14-5401 provides for the appointment of a conservator to manage the estate and affairs of a Minor, if the court determines the Minor owns money or property that requires management or protection which cannot otherwise be provided or if the Minor has or may have affairs which could be jeopardized or prevented because of his or her minority or that funds are needed for the Minor’s support and education and that protection is necessary or desirable to obtain or provide those funds.
- A parent of a Minor may, in a Will, request the appointment of a specific person to act as the conservator for a Minor child.
- A Minor who is 14 years or older may file a written objection to the appointment of the person whose appointment has been requested.
- A Minor 14 years or older may also nominate a particular person to act as Conservator.
A Minor 14 years or older must be formally served with the court papers which request the appointment of a conservator. The court may, but is not required to, appoint an independent attorney for the Minor. A petitioner may also formally request that the court appoint an attorney for the Minor.
In making its determination about whether or not the appointment of a conservator is in the best interests of the Minor, the court will consider the circumstances surrounding the request for appointment and the property or funds which need management. The court also requires that the proposed conservator view video modules regarding a conservator’s responsibilities before it will make an appointment.
- A conservator must file a formal inventory within 90 days of appointment as conservator which reflects all the property of the Minor which will be under the control of the conservator.
- A conservator who controls the property and finances of a Minor must be bonded unless the property and funds are restricted.
- Funds may be held in restricted bank accounts which are federally insured; access to restricted funds is prohibited unless a court order is obtained to permit the conservator access for a specific reason.
- Real property may also be restricted; this restriction prohibits the sale, lease, encumbrance, transfer or other conveyance of the real property without a court order which specifically authorizes such action.
- Property and funds which are managed by a bonded conservator must be accounted for annually.
- The court will set a review date each year for the annual accounting.
- The accounting must be submitted to the court on forms approved for that purpose which will detail all the assets being managed:
- it will itemize the amount of every receipt of income and the source of the income, and date of receipt;
- it will itemize the amount of every expenditure, to whom funds were paid and the purpose for the payment;
- it will show the sale of any asset and the resulting loss or gain on the sale;
- the last schedule of the accounting will detail the ending balance of all assets being managed.
- Documentation filed with the annual accounting will provide copies of asset statements to substantiate that the ending balances shown on the accounting are accurate.
- The annual accounting must be filed with:
- a petition for approval of the accounting,
- a notice of hearing,
- a proof of notice to interested parties,
- an affidavit for any legal fees or fiduciary fees paid from the Minor’s estate during the accounting year, and
- a form of order.
When a Minor becomes eighteen years of age, documentation must be filed in court to terminate the conservatorship and transfer all property and assets to the Minor, now Adult.
A checklist of the information needed to prepare the court documents requesting that a conservator be appointed for a minor can be found here.