“What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?”

If Diff’rent Strokes’ star Gary Coleman had worked and lived in Michigan, his $100,000 per episode salary would have been protected in a minor conservator estate.  Instead, his money was vulnerable to exploitation and his parents and advisers were eventually sued over allegations of misappropriation.

A minor conservator for a child is exactly what it seems to be.  It is a conservator estate for a person under the age of 18 years.  In Michigan, a minor conservator estate may be necessary when a minor is the plaintiff in a lawsuit, receives an inheritance, or receives over $5,000 in any one calendar year.

Let’s examine each situation.

Plaintiff in a Lawsuit

Jessica, a 13 year old is bit by a dog and sustains injuries.  Her parents decide to pursue a lawsuit against the owner of the dog.  A minor conservator may need to be appointed to commence the lawsuit and represent the injured minor’s interest in the litigation process.

Receives an Inheritance

Andrea’s grandfather dies.  In her grandfather’s estate plan, Andrea is to inherit $25,000.  Since she is not an adult and the amount of the inheritance exceeds $5,000, a minor conservator estate must be commenced.

Receives over $5,000 in any one Calendar Year

Eric is an outstanding singer.  He is so good that he is signed at the age of 12 to a record contract that will pay him $40,000 as a signing bonus plus royalties. Since he receives over $5,000 in a calendar year, a minor conservator estate must be commenced.

So, then what happens when a minor conservator estate is established in each of these examples.  The court requires the conservator to provide an inventory, account yearly, and safeguard the assets until the minor turns 18 years old.  Often, the court will place restrictions on the use of the funds including limiting the use of any funds until the minor is an adult.  

A minor conservator estate is commenced by the filing in the probate court a petition for conservator in the county in which the minor resides.  A hearing will occur and the court will make the determination as to the necessity of the conservatorship, who should be appointed, what requirements must be met for the appointed person to qualify as the conservator, and any restrictions on their authority to act.

Compassionately and professionally, The Probate Pro can assist you with the filing of a minor conservator petition.