Guardian / Conservator
The Probate Court appoints Guardians and Conservators for minors and incapacitated adults and monitors the administration of their estates. Settlements of litigation on behalf of minors not to exceed $25,000 are approved by the Probate Court, as are wrongful death settlements. Funds exceeding $10,000 require a Conservator to be appointed for minors.
The Code of Laws of South Carolina 1976, Title 62 provides for the appointment of a Guardian for an adult who has been adjudicated incompetent to the extent that the individual lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his person or property due to:
- Advanced age
- Chronic use of drugs
- Mental deficiency
- Mental illness
- Physical illness or disability
The primary responsibility of the Guardian is to decide where the incapacitated person will live and make provisions for his care, including medical and health care decisions. Annual accounting is required every year from the Guardian.
A Conservator may be appointed for the incapacitated adult or for a minor child. The primary responsibility of the Conservator is to manage and protect the financial affairs or property of the ward.
Any extraordinary expenditures must have court approval prior to disbursement and will be reflected on the required annual accounting submitted to the Probate Court. A bond is required in most cases to secure the assets against mismanagement.
A conservatorship for a minor child remains in place until the child reaches an age of majority (age 18).
Appointing Guardians / Conservators
Guardians and Conservators must be set up through an attorney’s office. All minor funds setup under conservatorships are secured in an interest-bearing account until minor turns 18 years old unless other restrictions are specified by Will, investment restrictions, or other court jurisdiction.