When you become a court-appointed guardian or conservator, you are required to perform certain duties. Among these are the duty to manage assets, file income tax and make living arrangements for the protected person. The conservator, or guardian, also has an important obligation to report to the court. When and what type of report is required depends on the circumstances of the guardianship.
Distinguishing Report Types
The majority of conservators and guardians are required to prepare an annual report. This report provides an update on the protected person's status, and the management of their assets. Apart from this report, a conservator may also have to file an initial accounting at the beginning of the appointment. This details the assets and debts of the estate, and the conservator's proposed management plan. When the conservatorship ends, the appointee may also have to file a final report to justify ending the appointment, and to provide updates since the last annual report.
The Annual Status Report
Several details are required for the annual report. These include the type and value of the assets at the start of the year, and income received throughout the time period. The report also needs to detail the expenses paid on the ward's behalf, and any funds used for estate-related expenses. Furthermore, the conservator needs to present information regarding the ward's residence, and the state of his or her physical health. The court is also allowed to request further information to gain a full understanding of the ward's needs.
Exceptions to the Annual Report Requirement
In Utah, not all conservators have to file an annual report. Under Utah Code Section 75-5-312(3)(f)(ix), parents of the protected person who serve as a guardian (or conservator) are exempt from filing annual reports. The same holds true for co-conservators who serve with a parent of the person. However, the court retains the authority to request these reports whenever the need arises.
The Initial Inventory Report
In Utah, conservators are required to file an inventory report fairly soon after being appointed. The applicable code section indicates that the report should be done within 90 days from the start of the guardianship. Under this section the conservator must locate, and inventory all property owned by the ward.
Yearly Financial Accounting Report
Apart from the financial information in the annual status report, the conservator must provide an accurate accounting for the estate. For estates with a value above $50,000, the conservator or guardian must submit a full accounting. Estates valued less than this amount may mail an informal report to the court.
Penalties for Non-Compliance
When an appointed party fails to file reports in due time, he or she can be subject to stiff fines. A fine of up to $5,000 may be imposed under a few different circumstances. If the conservator is found guilty of gross impropriety, he or she may be fined. The court may also take action if there is a substantial misstatement on any type of documentation. Furthermore, the the failure to file by the required due date is another violation for which the court can impose a fine. Restitution can also be ordered to provide redress for intentional acts or substantial errors made by the conservator.
Help With Conservatorships
This article uses the terms guardian and conservator interchangeably, but there is a distinction in their legal significance. If you need help understanding either role, contact Spencer and Jensen, PLLC. Spencer Jensen can also assist with any guardianship issue, including the filing of reports, or dealing with visitation rights.