Under California state law, a conservatorship can be established by court order for an individual deemed unable to make legal and medical decisions for him or herself. The exact duties and level of authority given to the conservator will vary based upon the degree to which the person is disabled. Often, a close family member or friend will be appointed conservator over someone, but professional services can also fill this role. Conservator/conservatee relationships are normally reserved only for cases of severe disability, either mental or physical. A lot of the time they are used in cases where an elderly person has developed dementia or Alzheimer's.
The duties assigned to a conservator will vary, but they will often cover finances, medical care, and legal decisions. The conservator will be expected to manage the conservatee's property in his or her best interests. This may include paying for food, rent, utility bills, property maintenance, and medicine. In some cases, the conservator may be responsible for admitting a conservatee into a facility where he or she can receive the best possible care. Both may live at the same residence or the conservator may live elsewhere and periodically check in with the person as needed.
It is not always easy to know when a conservatorship is the best option. In most cases, it is best to establish a trust and powers of attorney while you are still able to do so. This will allow the transfer to occur without the need of the court getting involved. If this has not been taken care of before a person is unable to manage his or her own affairs, then getting a conservator appointed by the court will become necessary. Waiting too long to make the decision could be detrimental to potential conservatees both medically and financially. Yet, you never want to make these kinds of decisions without careful consideration and expert legal advice.
If you are concerned that a loved one may no longer be capable of managing his or her own affairs and want to learn more about conservatorships, be sure to contact a skilled lawyer for advice. In Orange County, California, one trustworthy firm to consider is Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC. The experts at Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC can present to you all relevant information and help you make your own, fully informed, decision. To learn more, call 714-384-6053 or fill out their online request form.