There are two special types of probate cases called conservatorship and guardianship.
Conservatorship occurs when the individual is alive and either mentally or physically incapacitated. In order for the state to keep the individual in a hospital or nursing home, all of his or her assets must be sold. In this case, the personal representative is called a conservator, and is in charge of a conservatorship. You may approach them just as you would a personal representative in a traditional probate case.
Guardianship is similar to a conservatorship, but the individual involved is underage instead of mentally or physically incapacitated. The court calls the underage individual a minor. In this case, a guardian is appointed to take charge of the minor’s assets, and holds the same power as the personal representative. Thus, you would approach them as you would the personal representative in a traditional probate case.
From time to time, the guardian may need to liquidate assets in order to cover the minor’s expenses. A guardian is normally the trustee of the minor’s trust as well. You might ask the guardian if there are assets that they might need to liquidate in a trust. If they are not the trustee, they would likely know who the person who is.
Speaking of trusts, not every estate goes into probate because the decedent had transferred their assets into trusts or corporate entities. In the obituary filings of your county courthouse, the beneficiaries and trustee of the trust are identified. In this case, you would contact the trustee and ask if they had assets in the trust they would like to liquidate.
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