According to the Judicial Branch of California, a conservatorship is “when a judge appoints another person to act or make decisions for the person who needs help. The person the judge appoints is called the conservator. The person who needs the help is the conservatee. A Judge can only appoint a conservator if other less restrictive options won’t work.” Those who may need the help of a conservator include individuals who are unable to manage their own personal or financial affairs due to a physical or mental disability.
If you need legal assistance in seeking, contesting, or managing a conservatorship, you can turn to The Law Office of Donna Bachoura. Whether your situation involves an elderly loved one or an adult child, we are well-versed in California law and procedure for the establishment or management of these legal appointments. Because our firm exclusively focuses its practice on all matters pertaining to estates and their related issues, we have developed an abundance of knowledge that can be invaluable for our clients.
An Overview of Conservatorships in California
A conservatorship is a court-ordered arrangement under California law that grants an individual or organization the legal authority to manage another person's assets, healthcare, and/or general welfare. The court supervises the conservatorship to protect the interests of the conservatee—the person in need of protection—and ensure all decisions regarding their assets, healthcare, and welfare are in their best interests.
Because the individual who will be cared for by the conservator will forfeit many of his or her legal rights, the establishment of a conservatorship is a serious matter. Thus, court hearings are required to be held to demonstrate that the conservatorship is necessary due to the impairment of the individual, whether through illness, age, injury, or mental incapacity.
California has two main types of conservatorships: general conservatorships and limited conservatorships. A general conservator has full guardianship and control over the person’s affairs while a limited conservator has only certain powers based on the needs of the conservatee.
In either type of conservatorship, the conservator may be responsible for the personal care of the conservatee or his or her financial affairs. These two types of care are known as the “conservatorship of the person” and the “conservatorship of the estate.” Where both types of conservatorships are needed, one person or two separate people may be appointed to handle each category.
Examples of the responsibilities that a conservator may have can include:
- Making decisions about healthcare
- Making decisions about education
- Paying bills
- Selling property
- Opening or closing bank accounts
- Making investments
- Applying for government benefits on behalf of the client
- Establishing where the individual will live
Conservators are held accountable by the court for managing the affairs of their conservatee in good faith. Whether limited or general, the court works closely with the appointed individuals or organizations to ensure they abide by all rules and regulations related to conservatorships set forth by California law.
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