What is a Conservatorship?

If you believe it is time to begin making financial or personal care decisions for a loved one who can no longer do so him or herself, then you may want to learn more about conservatorship. Clients who did not execute estate planning documents when capable of doing so or developmentally disabled adults under the law may benefit from a conservatorship. While some conservatorships only focus on the Person (personal care matters), other conservatorships only focus on the Estate (financial matters). Additionally, some conservatorships may focus on both.

What are the different types of conservatorships?

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.

What are the responsibilities of creating a conservatorship?

When you create a conservatorship, you essentially vest the basic civil and legal of one person, known as the conservatee, in another, the conservator. All conservatorships begin in the Probate Court with the filing of a Petition for Conservatorship. The petitioner will specify whether the proceeding is a limited or general conservatorship and whether powers are being sought for personal care matters, financial matters, or both. If you petition for a limited conservatorship, the Court will review 7 separate areas and decide what powers they will take from the conservatee and grant to the conservator. They may grant the conservator the power to:

  • Fix the conservatee’s residence or dwelling
  • Access the conservatee’s confidential records
  • Consent or withhold consent to marriage on behalf of the conservatee
  • Enter into contracts on behalf of the conservatee
  • Give or withhold medical consent on behalf of the conservatee
  • Select the conservatee’s social and sexual contacts and relationships
  • Make decisions to educate the conservatee

You should note that while some conservators are granted all 7 powers, others may only be granted 1 or 2. You should also understand that there are other options before creating a conservatorship, such as executing durable powers of attorney or creating a trust. As a conservator, you will be required to manage your conservatee’s assets and provide regular reports and accountings to the court. Conservatorship is a huge responsibility, so it is important you speak with a knowledgable attorney before moving forward.

Contact our California firm

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, such as Jaci Feldman of the Woodland Hills, California, Law Office of Yacoba Ann Feldman, will ensure that you are taken care of when you need it most. Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation today.