While conservatorships can assist your incapacitated loved one, it can feel like signing their life away. The court removes the conservatee’s civil rights for a conservator to make decisions on their behalf.
If the family member or friend struggles with a mental illness or a physical disability, it may be neceessary to provide legal help. The problem is how more escalated a conservatorship is over a power of attorney.
How long do these legal arrangements last? And when do they end?
Thankfully, the judge ends your loved one’s conservatorship as soon as possible. Their goal is to put the proposed conservatee’s interests first and helping them establish independence again.
Timeline for Establishing a Conservatorship
From the petition to the court hearing, it takes around 1-2 months to enact a conservatorship.
You can run into delays if another party contests, such as disagreeing on who the conservator of the person or estate should be. The judge must consider these arguments before making the court order.
However, you don’t need to worry if the family member or friend needs immediate care. Establishing an emergency conservatorship only takes a few days, especially if your loved one is at significant risk of harming themselves or others.
Reasons for Ending a Conservatorship
Conservatorships don’t last forever: California law gives the conservatee several reasons for exiting this legal arrangement. Again, the courts believe it must preserve their best interests and assist them with incapacitation.
Conservatee Passes Away
If your family member or friend dies, then the conservatorship ends. An estate planning lawyer would work with you to distribute their remaining assets and address their will.
Judge Ends the Conservatorship
The judge may feel the conservatee does not need someone else to manage their person or estate any longer. For instance, your family member may have undergone physician rehabilitation and are capable of cooking and driving themselves again.
Conservatee Runs Out of Assets
A conservator of the estate can only manage a conservatorship bank account when funds remain. When your loved one runs out of money, there is nothing to steward.
For limited conservatorships, the legal arrangement ends when the conservator passes away. Other adult conservatorships continue after the judge appoints a new conservator, whether it be a relative or government worker.
The Investigator & Conservatorship Length
The judge may decide how long the conservatorship lasts, but they rely on the court investigator’s report. Seeing thousands of cases each year, they do not have time to meet your loved one outside the hearing.
But the court investigator does.
They visit the conservatee and their conservator on a consistent basis to determine whether the arrangement is needed and whether there is abuse present.
Conducting personal interviews, they ensure your loved one’s physical condition, medical treatments, and quality of life. The court investigator also holds the appointed conservator accountable to the responsibilities set at the court hearing.
In the end, the judge may decide your family member or friend does not need a conservatorship anymore. But that evidence and feedback originate from the court investigator’s regular reports.
Different Conservatorship Timelines
Conservatorships exist indefinitely until they end. You may choose to petition a loved one for this legal arrangement because they are incapacitated. Struggling with mental health and other challenges, they may have difficulty making right choices.
This lack of sound judgment and decision-making does not disappear all of a sudden.
Again, a conservatorship continues if the judge and court investigator believe the person still needs it. Overriding their civil rights is a difficult decision, but it protects them from harming themselves and others in the end.
Each conservatorship type has a variation on how long they last and how often the court investigator reevaluates the relationship.
With a 6-month review after enacting a general conservatorship, the judge decides whether to continue or end it. They send out the court-appointed investigator to interview all involved parties 6 months after that and then once per year.
Emergency conservatorship only last 30-60 days due to their temporary nature. The court establishes these solutions if they are absolutely necessary before an official hearing.
Your loved one exits an emergency conservatorship when a judge rules a general/limited conservatorship or denies the petition for one.
These legal arrangements span 1 year since they require hospitalization or the conservatee to enter a locked facility. You receive a notice in the mail 90 days before to renew the conservatorship.
If you don’t, your loved one is free to make their own choices again.
After your special needs child enters a limited conservatorship, the court investigator makes a visit one year after. They assess the quality of the conservatorship and leave a positive report if they feel it is beneficial.
Then, they follow up every 2 years to agree or disagree with the same decision again.
Ending Abusive Conservatorships
You always have the option to report conservatorship abuse if you sense the warning signs of manipulation, theft, or physical violence.
A skilled conservatorship attorney parnters with you to uncover injustice against your loved one. Then, they call the court investigator as an expert witness and bring all parties to an official court hearing.
The conservatorship may still remain in cases of conservatorship abuse, but the judge will appoint a different conservator to replace the abuser.
Even with an unhealthy supervisor, the courts may believe the conservatee still requires support for personal and financial affairs.
We Keep Your Loved One’s Best Interests in Mind
At the end of the day, you must do what is best for your loved ones when deciding whether they should enter a conservatorship.
It is daunting to petition them for a legal program that strips them in many cases of the ability to feed themselves or manage their checking account.
You can feel tremendous guilt due to a conservatorship’s permanency and how long they can last in extreme cases. But it can be the best thing for them to learn how to make sound decisions and get back on their feet again.
If you have someone close who you believe is incapacitated, it is likely they are detrimental to themselves or others. It’s our mission to help them gain independence and put your family’s interests first.
Give our experienced legal team a call at (800)-840-1998 so we can support you during this time. Also, you can trust us to help file your forms and report to the court quickly if you choose to pursue a conservatorship.