California Probate & Trust Real Estate Specialists
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What Is A Conservatorship?
- A conservatorship grants court-appointed people the power to make estate planning decisions for someone who is incapacitated and unable to manage their affairs.
- There are two forms of conservatorship: Probate Conservatorship and Lanterman Petris-Short Conservatorship.
- A guardianship gives an individual the authority to decide on physical and mental matters of someone who is deemed unable to do so by the courts.
- Reasons for conservatorship or guardianship appointments include: Alzheimer’s disease, other types of dementia, coma and mental illness.
- There are vetting procedures in place to protect wards (often a child or an older adult) and their assets.
- There are other ways for an individual, providing they are of sound mind, to choose an agent to care for their affairs such as Power of Attorney or Revocable Trust.
An individual’s capabilities are prone to change over the span of a lifetime, and while people in general may have an innate desire to maintain their autonomy and independence indefinitely, the realities of aging and illness often create obstacles to autonomy. When the time comes that it is found that an elder loved one is no longer able to make sound decisions regarding their health needs and best financial interests, appointing a guardian or conservator to act on their behalf often becomes the best solution.
We hope this article will serve as a resource for individuals who are in the process of deciding whether to avail themselves of this option, and to shed light on the workings of guardianships and conservatorships.
What is a Conservatorship?
A conservatorship, also referred to as a guardianship of the estate, typically grants one or more court-appointed people the power to make estate planning decisions on financial matters for someone who is found to be unable to manage his or her affairs due to infirmity or impairment.
If the court finds that the conservatee is capable of having some input on these matters then a limited conservatorship will be granted. This allows the conservatee a greater say in certain areas. A conservator’s job in those cases usually involves managing the economic resources of the individual deemed to some degree unfit. Depending on the circumstances, conservator duties may extend to:
- Acquiring and managing assets, such as properties and funds
- Buying food and other needs
- Securing and paying for placement in a facility to treat a mental illness or otherwise look after the conservatee
- Paying other bills
- Managing property by paying for property insurance, rent or mortgages, property clean-up, or pay for a property management company to maintain and rent the property
There are two forms of conservatorship:
This entails a court-appointed person to care for individuals who are unable to care for themselves or their assets for reasons found sufficient by the courts.
Any individual can petition the courts to initiate this process. Sufficient evidence of the conservatee’s inability to manage his or her affairs is required prior to the appointment of a conservator. A probate conservator’s appointment is usually permanent.
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