New program will increase audit frequency for conservator-managed accounts
Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2018
The Minnesota Judicial Branch is implementing another reengineering initiative to expand on the nationally-recognized success
of the Conservator Account Auditing Program (CAAP) through the development of the Conservator Account Review Program (CARP). The complimentary programs will ensure that all conservator-managed financial accounts in the state are reviewed by trained financial experts and that district court judges have more tools and information when hearing conservatorship cases. This announcement follows the recent release of the interactive, online conservator and guardianship training
“The Conservator Account Review Program and Conservator Account Auditing Program will work in concert to review accounts and offer greater protections to Minnesotans who require the services of conservator,” said Minnesotans Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea.
“Additional oversight of conservator-managed financial accounts means we will be able to better protect our seniors and vulnerable Minnesotans. More routine auditing ensures that conservators are reporting and documenting financial transactions properly. With the addition of the Conservator Account Review Program we will be better positioned to monitor for inappropriate spending or loss between audit years,” said Audit Manager Jamie Majerus.
CAAP – Conservator Account Auditing Program
In 2012 the Minnesota Judicial Branch launched CAAP as an effort to improve statewide oversight of court-appointed conservators and protect the assets of elderly and vulnerable Minnesotans. The program previously audited all accounts with bondable asset balances of more than $3,000 after one year, accounts referred by the court, and larger accounts every four years. With the addition of CARP, the CAAP auditors will now audit all conservator-managed accounts after each account’s first year. These more frequent reviews will allow auditors to more quickly identify any issues or concerns with an account. After the first-year review, the CAAP unit will audit all accounts with assets over $10,000 every four years. In addition, CAAP will audit any account referred to auditors by the reviewers working in CARP.
CARP – Conservator Account Review Program
The newly-launched CARP will provide regular review of accounts not subject to CAAP audits and provide public hearing preparation documents to district courts. CARP will review accounts under $10,000 and older than one year, and larger conservator accounts in-between those accounts’ fourth-year audits that are conducted by CAAP. Reviewers will follow a standard practices guide to ensure that conservator accounts are uniformly monitored.
Account Review Report
CAAP and CARP findings are presented to the parties and district judge for review. CARP audits will include a new, public Account Review Report summarizing the findings of an audit. One of the primary goals of this reengineering effort – in addition to providing greater oversight of conservator-managed accounts – is to provide district court judges more information and insight to assist in their decision-making process. Since the program’s inception, CAAP auditors have filed formal audit reports with the court. These public documents detail the auditor’s findings and recommendations, and are used by judges to make informed decisions on conservatorship cases.
With the creation of CARP, judges will now also receive an Account Review Report for conservatorship accounts not subject to a full audit through CAAP. The report provides a summary of the reviewer’s findings and recommendations. In addition to the Account Review Report, and starting in April 2019, CARP reviewers will also begin submitting a hearing preparation document into the Minnesota Court Information System (MNCIS) before each hearing in a conservatorship case. A copy of a blank hearing preparation document is attached. Like CAAP Audit Reports, Account Review Reports and the hearing preparation document will be public documents. The hearing preparation document will provide a summary of the annual accounts reviewed/audited and detail issues or findings identified by the reviewer or auditor.