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Understanding Conservatorship in California

Conservatorship can be a great way for families and individuals to provide their sick or elderly loved ones with the type of attention and protection they deserve. Conservatorship is a legal relationship between two adults, very similar to that of a custody arrangement. Much like a guardian, a conservator is responsible for the care of another person and must make legal decisions on their behalf. A woman taking care of her elderly mother, for example, or a man taking care of his severely ill brother, might benefit from this process. Individuals who choose to seek a conservatorship do so to gain legal responsibility and the proper authority to care for their loved ones.

If you are interested in becoming a conservator, find out how this legal concept works and discover how to obtain conservatorship in California.

How Does Conservatorship Work?

Conservatorship grants an individual, a conservator, the authority to make any and all decisions on behalf of someone else, the conservatee, who is deemed incapable of making decisions for his or herself. The conservatee must be unable to handle their own finances, medical care, or other personal matters in order to qualify for a conservatorship. In some cases, a conservatee may have several conservators working together to make decisions and provide care. If, for example, an elderly woman has a late stage of dementia, her three children might work together as conservators on her behalf.

The conservator can be the conservatee’s spouse, partner, adult child, parent, sibling, or public guardian. In certain instances, the court may approve individuals who do not have one of these specific relationships with the conservatee, but it is not common.

Who Benefits from Conservatorship?

Typically, those with serious mental or physical illnesses benefit from conservatorship. When adults are unable to care for themselves, their nearest and dearest family members must step forward to care for them. In these cases, a conservatorship can make handling the ill person’s affairs much simpler and will grant the managing party all of the control they require in order to provide their loved one with proper care.

If you are not sure if conservatorship is the best decision for your family, you might consider other legal options, such as durable power of attorney, advanced healthcare directives, or establishing a living trust.

Taking the Next Step

As with any family law issue, conservatorship is a delicate matter and should be handled with the utmost care. In order to pursue conservatorship, you must file an official petition, which will contain documents about the conservator and the conservatee. The petition should also explain the conservatee’s medical condition and provide a record of their nearest relatives. After the petition is filed, there will be a hearing before the request is granted or denied.

If you believe conservatorship is right for you and you are ready to get started, reach out to an experienced family lawyer in Murrieta.

Contact Singleton Smith Law Offices, schedule an appointment with our Murrieta divorce attorneys.