The Court may appoint a conservator if it finds that the minor owns money or property requiring management or protection that cannot otherwise be provided, has or may have business affairs that may be jeopardized or prevented by minority, or needs money for support and education and that protection is necessary or desirable to obtain or provide money, per MCL 700.5401(2). The Court may appoint a conservator if a basis for the appointment is proven by clear and convincing evidence, per MCL 700.5406.
Before filing a petition, please read How to file a Minor Conservatorship Petition in Probate Court (PDF). Once the petition is filed with the Court and the interested parties have been served with the petition, the Court holds a hearing. At the hearing the Court may deny the petition so that no conservator is appointed, or grant the petition and appoint a conservator.
The proper venue (place) to file a petition for minor conservatorship is the county where the minor resides. If the minor lives out of state, the proper venue is the place where property of the minor ward is located.
The petitioner must give notice of the time and place of the conservatorship hearing to all interested parties, including the individual to be protected if 14 years of age or older and the nominated conservator, per MCR 5.125(C)(24). The Court may appoint a lawyer-guardian ad litem to represent the best interests of the minor.
Any person interested in the estate of a minor, or the minor themselves if they are 14 years of age or older, may petition the court for the appointment of a conservator. File a case using the Petition for Appointment of Conservator (PC 639). There is a $175 filing fee and a $12 certification fee that must be paid when the petition is filed. The Probate Court accepts payment by cash, check, money order, credit or debit card.
If the Court appoints a person or persons to be the conservators of a minor, the judge will sign Letters of Conservatorship (PC 645) and Order Regarding Appointment of Conservator (PC 640). Each of these two forms (PC 645 and PC 640) are local court forms.
It is the policy of the Washtenaw County Probate Court and a “Best Practice” according to the Michigan Supreme Court Administrator’s Office (SCAO) to require that all of the minor’s assets be deposited into restricted accounts, to prevent withdrawal of the minor’s funds without a prior court order.
Currently, only the Bank of Ann Arbor is approved for deposit of the funds of minor ward, except that conserved funds may be placed in an eligible section 529 educational savings plan. Within 28 days of the issuance of letters of minor conservatorship, a Proof of Restricted Account and Annual Verification of Funds on Deposit form (PC 669) or verification of deposit of the funds into a "529 plan" from the financial institution must be filed.
The conservator must gather, secure and list all of the minor’s assets within 56 days of being appointed by the Court and file an Inventory form (PC 674) with the Court. In addition to filing the inventory with the Court, the conservator must serve a copy of the inventory on all interested persons and file a Proof of Service form (PC 564) showing that it was served.
A conservator may request access to restricted funds by filing a Petition to Use Funds (PC 673m). Interested parties must be given a copy of the petition and notice of hearing. The conservator must file a completed Proof of Service form (PC 564) verifying this.
Every year that the conservatorship continues, the conservator must submit a Proof of Restricted Account and Annual Verification of Funds on Deposit form (PC 669) and bank statement(s) dated within 30 days of the form. In addition, if the Court authorized withdrawal of conserved funds during the year, an Account of Fiduciary, Short Form (PC 583) must be completed and filed, along with a $20 filing fee. Interested parties must be given copies of the annual forms filed. The Court must receive a Proof of Service form (PC 564) verifying this.
A minor conservatorship typically terminates on the minor’s 18th birthday. When the minor turns 18, the conservator must file a Final Account (PC 648m) along with a bank statement verifying the amount in the account, and a Receipt of Ward and Discharge (PC 649) signed by the minor showing that they received their assets in full.
An index of all approved probate court forms is located online.
Failure of a conservator to comply with statutory requirements or Court orders may result in suspension of authority, removal of the conservator, and / or contempt of court proceedings.