Conservatorships Defined

In California courts, a conservatorship is ordered when a court finds a person is no longer able to properly care for and make decisions for his or herself. Dependent upon the care needed, the court will appoint a conservator to manage the medical decisions and/or financial matters for that individual. A family member, a friend or a professional can be appointed conservator.

When is a Conservatorship Needed?

Conservatorships are generally enforced for severely mentally ill individuals, those who are gravely disabled, individuals with developmental disabilities, and elderly adults with dementia or Alzheimer's disease who lack the capacity to properly care for themselves. With a conservatorship case, mental capacity can be evaluated and determined by experts in the medical field or the field of psychiatry with their findings being admitted into court as evidence.

What is Required of the Conservator?

A conservator's duties may include the following responsibilities:

· Locating and controlling assets and property that belong to the conservatee

· Using those assets to buy food for the conservatee

· Securing and paying for placement in a facility which will take care of the conservatee

· Paying the conservatee's bills

· Managing the conservatee's real estate property and paying their property insurance

· Paying the conservatee's mortgage or rent

· Paying for maintenance of the conservatee's property

Are There Alternatives to a Conservatorship?

The Courts prefer the least restrictive means in dealing with a proposed conservatee, especially if there are suitable alternatives. Although each case is different, in some cases alternatives may be more affordable and less restrictive while still protecting the individual who is in need of assistance.

  • General and Limited Powers of Attorney for Finances and Healthcare Decisions
  • Representative Payeeship
  • A Revocable Trust

You can avoid the difficulty in petitioning the court for a conservatorship over a loved one by taking the right steps early on. By seeking the advice of an attorney, you can prepare your estate plan to include terms that will protect you, your assets and your family, if something were to happen to you.

MORTENSEN & REINHEIMER, PC is an established law corporation in Orange County. At Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC we know that some of the most important objectives in a lifetime are protecting what you have earned, and planning to provide for your loved ones. Our primary goal is to ensure that whatever step you are working towards or whichever phase of life you are in, we can help accurately reflect your desires in the legal perspective of it.

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