Walnut Creek Conservatorship Attorney
A General Conservatorship is often used when an elderly individual can no longer take care of their financial or personal needs. Often, but not always, this comes to light when financial elder abuse is suspected.
To protect the individual a Conservator can be appointed for the Estate, the Person or Both. A Conservator of the Estate controls the money and is responsible for paying all bills and is subject to court supervision, including submitting regular accountings to the Court. A Conservator of the Person focuses on personal needs: Housing, Medical and related in home services.
The process is similar to that of a Limited Conservatorship in that a Petition and many other forms are submitted and served on all other family members. The public defender is appointed to represent the Conservatee. A Court Investigator prepares a report after interviewing relevant family members that is submitted to the Court in advance of the hearing. The Court then weighs all of the different reports to determine what is in the best interests of the Conservatee.
Limited Conservatorships for Adults with Special Needs
A child with developmental disabilities has special needs for care throughout childhood, and these needs don’t change when the person turns 18. However, under the law an 18-year-old is an adult with certain rights. Despite your best intentions to continue providing the level of care your child needs, state and federal privacy laws may keep you from participating in important medical, educational and living decisions for your child. Establishing a limited conservatorship is an effective way to retain your ability to provide the same level of care and support for your child that you always have, without running into roadblocks at the doctor’s office, the bank, and elsewhere. In Walnut Creek and Contra Costa County, special needs estate planning attorney Aaron Feldman helps parents and guardians establish limited conservatorships tailored to meet their specific needs. See more about limited conservatorships below, and contact the Feldman Law Group to discuss your situation.
Who can establish a limited conservatorship?
Any adult can file for a limited conservatorship over another adult. Most often a parent or sibling is appointed as limited conservator, but the court is authorized to appoint any responsible adult. The court can also appoint more than one limited conservator, such as both parents, a parent and a sibling, or multiple siblings. It is often a good idea to have more than one limited conservator appointed to make sure the conservatee will still be looked after if something happens to one of the conservators. It’s important in this instance to have the duties and roles of the conservators clearly spelled out and to have all conservators on the same page about the conservatee’s care; otherwise, disputes can arise that may sometimes require litigation to sort out.
The conservator is supervised by the court for the duration of the conservatorship. The conservatorship is reviewed after the first year and every two years after that, and the conservatee will be visited by an investigator to ensure the conservatorship is operating correctly.
How is a limited conservatorship established in California?
The person filing for conservatorship must prepare and file the petition along with over a half a dozen other court forms. Notice is given to the conservatee, his or her relatives, the applicable Regional Center and the public defender. An investigation takes place, including testing by the Regional Center regarding the conservatee’s developmental disability. A hearing then takes place to determine whether a limited conservatorship is proper. If approved, the conservator will be provided with a signed order and Letters of Conservatorship.
What does a limited conservator do?
A limited conservator will have many responsibilities. In a conservatorship over the person, the conservator will be responsible for the conservatee’s food, clothing, shelter and well-being. If the conservatorship covers the estate, then the conservator will be responsible to protect and manage assets, collect income and pay bills, and make a list of all assets. A conservatorship of the estate is generally required if the conservatee has assets from sources other than wage income, public assistance or a special needs trust.
The judge ultimately decides the rights of the conservator, although your attorney will work with you in advance to present a proposed order to the judge. The object of the conservatorship is to give the conservator the ability to act in areas the conservatee can’t accomplish without help. Typical orders in a limited conservatorship allow the conservator to:
- Manage the conservatee’s financial affairs
- Make decisions regarding housing or place of residence
- Make decisions regarding education or vocational training
- Have access to otherwise confidential records
- Contract on behalf of the conservatee
- Consent to medical treatment (or withhold consent for treatment)
Less usual powers that may be granted to a limited conservator include control over the conservatee’s social and romantic relationships or the authority to allow or deny consent to marriage.
Let a Caring and Experienced Special Needs Planning Attorney Help You with Limited Conservatorship in Walnut Creek and Contra Costa County
If you don’t get a limited conservatorship, the Regional Center may wind up making decisions on behalf of an adult with developmental disabilities, and these decisions may not be the same ones you would choose for your loved one. Special needs estate planning attorney Aaron Feldman will approach your situation with knowledge and compassion based on decades of experience helping families make the best decisions for their loved ones. In Walnut Creek and Contra Costa County, call the Feldman Law Group at 925-283-6691 to speak with a caring and experienced California limited conservatorship attorney.