Making the decision to enact a conservatorship for a spouse, domestic partner, or family member can be extremely difficult. And it can be even more stressful to entrust a third party with your loved one’s significant financial and healthcare decisions.
Unfortunately, conservatorships don’t always go according to plan.
You may have seen too many warning signs of conservatorship abuse to count and are desperate to protect the conservatee. The judge may have enacted an abuser to harm your family member or friend financially, mentally, or emotionally.
Sometimes, it’s obvious to your family that the proposed conservator does not act in the conservatee’s best interest. The arrangement may have spared your loved one from harming themselves or others, but it’s time to bring the case back to court.
We can help prepare you for contesting your California conservatorship and prevent the conservatee from suffering. You can petition for a conservatorship contest and not feel stuck anymore.
California Conservatorships You Can Contest
According to California probate code, you have the power to fight against a criminal conservator. Just because they hold court-ordered authority over your loved one doesn’t mean you can’t take action.
Limited conservatorships, general conservatorships, and LPS conservatorships are the 3 types you can challenge. An experienced attorney can partner with reviewing the previous court hearing and overturn it with new evidence.
When the conservatee cannot make their own decisions, a judge will turn to a general conservatorship. Depending on the circumstances, the Conservator could have control over the finances, the person’s medical decisions, and/or living arrangements.
A limited conservatorship is generally utilized for adults with developmental disabilities who cannot make all of their own decisions. The court order regarding the conservatorship will have a very specific scope of responsibilities and powers for the conservator.
Your loved one may have received a Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) conservatorship for severe mental incapacitation, such as bipolar disorder or alcoholism. Conservators have even more opportunity to take advantage of the conservatee while they are stuck in a mental facility or institution.
Contest 1 of 2 Different California Conservators
Before you petition a conservatorship with the court, the law requires you to know what type of conservatorship the conservatee. This information is crucial moving forward in the case, so your chosen attorney understands how to craft the winning argument.
Conservator of the Estate
Your loved one’s conservator will locate and control their assets, income, and government payments if they are a conservator of the estate. They are responsible for managing all of the person’s finances when they are unable due to incapacitation.
Conservator of the Person
A conservator of the person is responsible for the general care and protection of the conservatee. This includes arrangements and decisions for things like meals, health care, and living arrangements. For particularly big decisions, such as changes in health care or living arrangements, court approval may be needed.
The scope of a conservator’s authority may include both the “person” and “estate”, or it may be limited to one or the other. Ask one of our conservatorship attorneys if you should seek a conservatorship over the estate, person, or both.
Look for These Signs When Contesting a Conservatorship
Generally, there are a few different reasons when someone would contest a conservatorship.
The conservator intentionally abused the conservatee
You could have witnessed time and time again the court-appointed party exploit and harm your loved one during the conservatorship. These are horrific series of actions that don’t put the conservatee’s best interests first, benefiting only the conservator.
Either way, that is a breach of the legal conservatorship contract. Some common signs of conservatorship abuse include:
- Unpaid bill notices or bounced checks
- Suspicious changes in wills or estate plans
- Sudden changes in banking or financial practices, such as unusual withdrawals
- Odd disposal of assets, such as real estate
- The conservatee is not physically taken care of or shows signs of physical abuse
The conservator oversteps their specified powers
Most conservators have a very specific scope of powers and responsibilities.
For instance, in a limited conservatorship, the conservator may only be responsible for decisions regarding the estate but not the personal health of the conservative.
If the conservator oversteps their responsibilities, family members may want to contest the conservatorship.
Someone else should have priority as the conservator
If the probate court determines that someone needs a conservator, the court can appoint a conservator.
The probate judge must use the following order of priority: spouse, adult child, parent, sibling, any other interested person, the public guardian.
If someone higher on the priority list decides that they would like to be the conservator then they can be the conservatorship.
The conservatee no longer needs a conservator
One of the most common reasons to contest a conservatorship is that the conservatee no longer needs it. Sometimes a conservatorship is meant to be temporary, such as when a person is undergoing a temporary medical emergency.
If the conservator doesn’t agree to give up their responsibility, contesting may be necessary.
What is the process of contesting a conservatorship?
As explained above, you can contest the need for a conservatorship or object to a particular conservator.
The first step in successfully contesting a conservatorship is finding a proven, talented conservatorship attorney. Your attorney will help you through the process.
This includes the filing of a petition and notifying all interested parties, which includes the petitioning conservator, the proposed conservatee, and family members.
Contesting a conservatorship before the conservatee is appointed is less expensive than contesting an existing conservatorship.
Work with Winning California Attorneys
It’s crucial to understand how to contest your loved one’s conservatorship so they can exit a toxic legal arrangement. A conservatorship is a court-appointed process, which means you need experts to succeed.
But you won’t get anywhere without an experienced firm that has a reputation for probate victories.
Our conservatorship attorneys have the empathy, knowledge, and experience needed to help you contest a conservatorship. With experience in probate administration, elder abuse, and conservatorship cases across California, our attorneys are uniquely qualified to assist you.
Whether it’s due to abuse or because you believe someone else should be the conservator, we will walk you through the process.
Please call the Legacy Lawyers at 800-840-1998 to schedule a free consultation.