Simply put, conservatorship is a court order given by a judge to appoint a reliable person or organization to care for an incapacitated adult, who for certain reasons, may not be able to personally care for himself or herself, or his or her finances. Generally, the need for a conservatorship arises in cases where a person suffers from a sickness like Alzheimer’s disease, coma, or any other serious health problems.
The person that is appointed by the court to take care of an incapacitated person is known as the conservator. The incapacitated person that needs to be taken care of is the conservatee. The term “conservatorship” can be the synonym of “adult guardianship” as they have almost the same meaning. A conservator may specialize in either health/personal matters of an incapacitated person, or in the financial matters, or both. If a conservator is specialized in handling a conservatee’s health/personal matters, that conservator is called “conservator of person” while a conservator whose responsibility has to do with the conservatee’s finances is known as “conservator of estate”.
Usually, the court has an order of preference as to who can be a conservator to a proposed conservatee. If the proposed conservatee is in good mental and physical health enough to express his or her preferences, then fine – a preferred conservator will be appointed to the best interest of the proposed conservatee. Otherwise, the court will use their order of preference to appoint a reliable conservator for the proposed conservatee. The order of preference is as follows:
- The conservatee’s spouse or domestic partner
- Adult child of the conservatee
- Parents of the conservatee
- Sibling of the conservatee
- Any other person qualified to be a conservator
- Public guardian or fiduciary
If the appointed conservator does not want to be a conservator, he or she has the power to nominate someone else. The goal here is to appoint the best suitable and available person as conservator in the best interest of the conservatee. The judge has the final say on who should be a conservator. But your experienced Conservatorship Attorney In Los Angeles And San Fernando Valley California
is available to answer all confusing questions regarding conservatorship.
Responsibilities Of A Conservator
The need of a conservatee determines the type of conservator to be assigned to him or her. The following responsibilities are expected of a conservator of person:
- Make arrangements for the conservatee’s accommodations.
- Arranges the conservatee’s adequate security.
- Makes arrangement for the conservatee’s total well-being and basic needs like:
- House keeping
- Health care
- Gives the court regular update on the conservator’s situation.
- Gets necessary approval from the court to make major decisions concerning the conservatee
The responsibilities of a conservator of estate include:
- Make responsible and wise investment of the conservatee’s fund.
- Location and proper management of the conservatee’s assets.
- Proper management/reception of the conservatee’s income
- Protect the conservatee’s assets
- Pay bills in the conservatee’s name
- Make sure the conservatee’s assets are protected
- Make budgets as often as is necessary to show the financial power of the conservatee.
- Give regular update to the court of the conservatee on the management process of the conservatee’s assets.
Conservators are held accountable to their responsibilities by the court. If there is any misconduct in the management of the conservatee, the court will sanction the conservator as deemed appropriate.
Types of Conservatorship
The need of the conservatee determines the kind of conservatorship necessary. There are different types of conservatorship, namely:
- Probate conservatorship: This type of conservatorship is quite common compared to other types of conservatorships. The probate conservatorship is based on the California Probate Code laws. This type of conservatorship can either be a general conservatorship or a limited conservatorship.
- General conservatorship: The general conservatorship covers the management of a conservatee’s personal and financial needs. It is usually opted for by elderly people but a young person can go for it on the occasion that he or she is seriously impaired.
- Limited conservatorship: A conservatee under limited conservatorship have developmental disability, and cannot fully care for either themselves or their finances.
The Up And Down Sides Of Conservatorship
- Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Conservatorship: This type of conservatorship is usually opted for by adults that need special care as a result of serious mental illnesses. People that opt for this type of conservatorship are mentally retarded people that are restricted to a particular living environment in order to access mental extensive treatment most of which is used for behavior control. A conservatee under this arrangement cannot, as a result of his or her mental health status, make decisions about their welfare. To get an LPS conservatorship, the local government agency has to be involved.
Since the process of conservatorship is not a very simple one, Conservatorship Attorney In Los Angeles And San Fernando Valley California
explains to his clients some of its negative sides like:
- It is time consuming
- It requires lots of detailed paperwork about court filings and other necessary documents
- It is expensive too, and might not be affordable to all
There are cases where a conservator may mishandle the conservatee or the conservatee’s assets without being noticed. But on the bright side, the conservatee stand to benefit so much.
Who Can File A Conservatorship?
- Their properties can never be mismanaged as the conservators are under strict supervision by the court.
- The conservatee’s assets can be invested in profitable investment.
- A conservatee that does not have relatives or friends can still get the care and security that he or she deserves as a human being.
There are cases where an incapacitated person can file for conservatorship; but there are other cases where other parties file for conservatorship on behalf of the incapacitated person. People that can file for a conservatorship include:
- The spouse
- Local government or state agency
- Any reliable person or friend of the incapacitated person
- The incapacitated person
In a case where there is need for a conservator, and there is no family or friend to fill in as conservator, it is best to find a fiduciary to act as a conservator. The entire process can be avoided in the case of elderly persons, if they make prior decisions to prepare a durable power of attorney before any health crisis.
For all your conservatorship related matters, the Leventhal Law Group, P.C offers free and no obligation consultation with a qualified attorney. Call 818-347-5800 for a free consultation today!