When an adult goes missing indefinitely, their family members can wind up in a particularly difficult situation. Unless someone has power of attorney authority or is a cosigner on various accounts and assets held by the missing individual, family members and loved ones may not be able to access or utilize assets. They may not even be able to pull funds from a bank account to cover real estate taxes on a property owned by the missing person.

People go missing for a wide range of reasons, and many of them eventually turn up again. However, a lengthy disappearance could have catastrophic financial and legal implications unless there is someone to step up and take action on behalf of the missing person, possibly with the help of a legal conservatorship.

A conservatorship lets you handle assets until someone returns

When someone goes missing and doesn’t leave legal documents authorizing others to act on their behalf, their family members and loved ones may have no choice but to seek a conservatorship.

Under Florida law, a conservatorship involves the court granting authority over the assets of a missing person to another individual, usually someone related to or with a pre-existing relationship with the missing individual. The conservatorship can end either when the missing person is found or if the courts declare them dead, at which point a last will or Florida probate laws will control the succession of assets.

Seeking a conservatorship can protect a missing person

Securing a conservatorship doesn’t just protect family members from the hardship that can come from a lack of access to necessary assets. They can also protect a missing individual by allowing someone else to perform their legal obligations. When there are pressing obligations and no way to reach someone missing, it may be time to ask the courts for help.