WHAT IS CONSERVATORSHIP??
A conservatorship may be created when an adult person is unable to properly provide for his or her personal needs for physical health, food, clothing or shelter. This is called a conservatorship of the person. The incapacitated person is the “conservatee” and the person who takes over the care is called the “conservator”.
A conservatorship may also be created when an adult person is unable to manage his or her own financial resources or resist fraud or undue influence. This is called a conservatorship of the estate. Sometimes it is necessary to establish a conservatorship of both the person and the estate.
An adult person may voluntarily request the appointment of a conservator. A conservatorship may also be created for a minor who is married or whose marriage has been dissolved, and who otherwise meets the criteria for an adult conservatorship, or for a member of the uniformed services or other agency of the United States, who is officially determined to be missing.
CONSERVATORSHIP OF THE PERSON
A conservator owes a fiduciary duty to the conservatee, which is the highest duty of care one can owe to another.
CONSERVATORSHIP OF THE ESTATE
If there are assets which need protection, the conservator should retain private legal counsel to advise him or her about obligations regarding the estate. The court requires accountings and reportings on a regular basis. Ignorance of the requirements is not an excuse for failure to comply. For this reason, it is always recommended that conservators of an estate be represented by legal counsel. The attorneys fees must be approved by the court, and generally may be paid from estate assets.
A limited conservatorship is a special type of conservatorship in which the judge will appoint a conservator to assist an adult with developmental disabilities who is unable to provide for his or her own personal and/or financial needs. An adult with developmental disabilities is one who has severe and chronic disabilities because of a mental or physical impairment. In the case of a developmentally disabled child, it is important that the conservatorship be established before the person’s 18th birthday so that the conservator can make decisions on the person’s behalf.
A limited conservator’s duty is to help the limited conservatee develop maximum self-reliance and independence. Because developmentally disabled adults can usually do many things on their own, the judge will only give the limited conservator power to do things the conservatee cannot do without help.
All conservatorships are paper-work intensive and require that notice be given to certain relatives of the proposed conservatee and to some agencies.
We are experienced with establishing conservatorships and limited conservatorships in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. We provide caring guidance and support to help families to meet all requirements to establish a conservatorship.
If you are facing any family law issues, please contact our office to make an initial consultation appointment. With an office in Simi Valley, we can provide services in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties.