A conservatorship is a court case whereby a judge appoints a responsible person or organization (the conservator) to care for the needs of another adult, who is called the conservatee. The conservatee is an adult who is unable to care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances. Often times a judge appoints a family member or friend who acts as the conservator to care for their loved one who is incapable of caring for themselves for reasons of serious impairment from an accident, or who suffer from developmental disabilities, dementia, or simply due to advanced aging.
In California, there are three basic types of conservatorships:
General Probate Conservatorship – This is for adults who cannot provide for their personal needs due to a physical injury, dementia or for other reasons that make them incapable of caring for themselves or that make them subject to undue influence.
Limited Conservatorship – This type of conservatorship was created for the developmentally disabled. This type of conservatorship gives the conservator limited powers so the disabled individual can live as independently as possible.
Lanternman-Petris-Short Conservatorship (LPS) – An LPS conservatorship is for either a seriously disabled person or for others who require hospitalization in a psychiatric facility. A person with an LPS conservatorship may be placed in a locked facility; however, there are additional protections in an LPS conservatorship to ensure the conservatee’s civil rights are not violated.
Once you have been appointed as a conservator, you are legally responsible to provide for the conservatee and his or her daily needs. In California, conservatorships are heard in the Probate Department of the Superior Court.
You can either be designated as “conservator of the person” or “conservator of the estate,” or you can be designated as both. If you are a conservator of the person, you will be in charge of the conservatee’s health care, food, clothing, personal care, housekeeping, transportation and recreation.
If you are a conservator of the estate, you will manage the conservatee’s finances, protect his or her income and property, list everything in the estate, make sure the conservatee’s needs are met, make sure their bills are paid, invest their money, file their taxes on time, keep exact financial records, and produce regular reports of financial accounts to the court and other interested persons.
To learn more about conservatorship and how a Riverside estate planning attorney can help you through all court procedures and administrative functions, contact Dennis M. Sandoval, a PLC today for a free, one-hour consultation at (951) 968-0980.