Power of Attorney vs Conservatorship – What’s the Difference?

Estate planning is about planning for our futures. But, in some cases, you may need to help a loved one as well. Read on to learn more about powers of attorney and conservatorships in California.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney (POA) allows an individual to make major life decisions on behalf of another individual. This may include decisions regarding finances, healthcare, and more. The person who is given power of attorney is known as the agent. A power of attorney can allow the agent to pay the principal’s bills, make bank deposits and withdrawals, obtain medical records, file tax returns, buy and sell property, hire caretakers, transfer assets to trusts, and more. This may be necessary in events of incapacitation. It is a large responsibility, so it is important to choose someone you trust.

What is a Conservatorship?

Individuals who did not execute estate planning documents (such as a POA) when capable of doing so, or developmentally disabled adults under the law, may benefit from a conservatorship. While some conservatorships only focus on personal care matters, other conservatorships only focus on financial matters. Some conservatorships may focus on both.

California has two main types of conservatorships that are handled by the Probate Court. Limited conservatorships are for adults with developmental disabilities who cannot care for themselves or handle their finances. General conservatorships, on the other hand, are reserved for either the elderly or adults that have been seriously impaired due to a degenerative illness or accident and can no longer take care of themselves or manage their finances alone.

The duties of a conservator of the person are:

  • Arrange the individual’s care and protection
  • Decide where they will live
  • Make arrangements for meals, health care, clothing, personal care, housekeeping, transportation, shelter, well-being, etc
  • Get approval from the court for certain decisions
  • Report to the court on the individual’s status

The duties of a conservator of the estate are:

  • Manage the individual’s finances
  • Locate and control all assets
  • Collect their income
  • Make a budget of what they can afford
  • Pay the bills
  • Responsibly invest money
  • Protect assets
  • Account to the court and the individual for the management of the assets

If you are interested in creating a power of attorney or a conservatorship, contact our firm today to learn more.

Contact our Firm

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, such as Jaci Feldman of the Woodland Hills, California, Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman, will ensure that you are taken care of when you need it most. Do not delay. Estate planning is a more urgent matter than you may think. You never know what the future holds. Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation today.

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