January 20, 2011
This responds to your inquiry (10-169) asking whether you may complete certain necessary tasks to terminate two conservatorships that you held before taking the bench. In one case, the final ex-parte order to discharge you as conservator and to cancel your bond was never filed and a nominal amount of money was never disbursed. In the other case, an affidavit of lateness was never filed and the matter is still pending. Also, a conservatorship account remains open with funds still on deposit.
In Opinion 95-39 (Vol. XIII), the Committee advised that a newly elected full-time judge could continue to serve as conservator in a matter until a successor or interim conservator is appointed. The Committee further advised that because the judge did not expect a final accounting to be completed for filing for several months, the judge could continue to perform such essential functions as receiving income, reinvesting funds, paying bills and continuing the services of a retained certified social worker, as well as performing ministerial tasks (see id.). However, the Committee urged the judge to move promptly to secure a substitute conservator (see id.). And in Opinion 02-37, the Committee advised that a full-time judge could continue to serve as a guardian ad litem pursuant to an appointment made prior to his/her assuming the bench, but to complete such service within one year, if possible.
Therefore, you may complete the necessary tasks to terminate the two conservatorships you held before taking the bench, but should do so expeditiously, but in any event, within the next year.
I have enclosed Opinions 95-39 (Vol. XIII) and 02-37 for your information.