Although it is difficult for your incapacitated loved one when you impose an unwanted conservatorship over their head, it will enable them to make wise choices and live a fuller life. Their conservator can aid them despite being physically or mentally ill, managing their daily schedule, estate, and living arrangements so they are not taken advantage of by someone else.
You may be wondering how to get a conservatorship in California if you have been to the county court and experienced the system’s legal technicalities for state laws. Or maybe you have never appointed a conservator for a family member or friend before and you are searching for guidance on how to begin that journey.
We would be honored to tell you about California conservatorships from beginning to end in either case so your loved one can obtain the assistance they need (but does not desire).
LPS: Conservatorship Open to Californians
Every state has its own conservatorship laws that affect how to get one from a legal standpoint (some identify “conservators” as managing the estate while “guardians” manage the person, making a clear distinction). You may already be familiar with general conservatorships and limited conservatorships that dictate how much authority a conservator has over your loved one. But they could be eligible for an LPS Conservatorship, an option available in California.
Unlike the other two, the county courts institute LPS Conservatorships for family members and friends that suffer from serious mental health illnesses that require more care than normal conditions would. People that struggle with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and clinical depression all fit into this category, although it does not necessarily mean they need a conservatorship. Some are capable to make sound decisions and live normal lives with medications and routine psychiatric appointments.
An LPS Conservator would oversee the conservatee while professional houses them in a mental hospital or locked facility. Many other Californians, like yourself, may not be aware that LPS Conservatorship options exist for your loved one. If you believe their incapacitation is at this extreme level, we recommend working with an experienced lawyer to get started.
How to Get a Conservatorship in California
There is a general process you and your loved one’s relatives will follow in California for all three types of conservatorships. This journey explains how conservatorships work, from getting the petition filed all the way to the judge’s decision at the court hearing. You can establish a responsible conservator over your loved one in the end and free them to live daily life without any physical or mental disabilities hindering them.
File a Petition
The first step to get a conservatorship in California is to file a petition with your local county court since they will hear your case if it progresses that far. The initial document will require your personal information and names for your loved one, the proposed conservator, and their relatives so the judge can account for everyone he needs to involve.
You do not necessarily have to file the petition on the proposed conservatee’s behalf either: a spouse, domestic partner, relative, friend, and several other interested parties have this right too. Getting help for your incapacitated loved one does not fall solely on your shoulders: you can lean on the proposed loved one’s close social network to assist.
Inform the Conservatee
The petitioner (whether you or someone else) will need to send your loved one both a copy of the petition you filed and a citation. The citation is a legal document that will provide the proposed conservatee with detailed information about the conservatorship you wish to implement.
Your county court will respect your loved one’s legal autonomy and rights, even if their critical thinking is compromised, so they ask you to have someone else personally deliver those documents to your family member or friend.
Inform the Conservatee’s Relatives
Similarly, your judge understands the personal nature of a conservator stepping into your loved one’s life and overriding their rights. They will ask you to notify their family and relatives by sending them a petition and citation copy too. Parents, siblings, children, grandparents, and even friends all will desire to know how their loved one will be cared for, so it is imperative you inform them.
You will have to request someone else mail your documents to those addresses, just like with informing the conservatee.
The next step to obtain a conservatorship in California is when a judge sends court investigator, who will conduct an investigation. They will interview you, your loved one, and others familiar with their developmental disabilities to confirm or deny their incapacitation.
Court investigators will also walk their estates and decide whether the proposed conservatee can afford for the legal system to conduct a full investigation on them or not.
Your local California courthouse will summon you, the proposed conservatee, the proposed conservator, relatives, the court investigator, and others once your case has been approved for hearing. The judge will determine at the start whether everyone was properly notified of the court order and seeing if the proposed conservatee will need the courts to appoint a lawyer.
The court hearing will determine two main objectives in essence: to figure out if the family member or friend is truly incapacitated and who will become the called conservator. All relevant parties will receive Letters of Conservatorship that explain who the chosen conservator is and the legal authority they hold to act on their conservatee’s behalf.
Everything the judge lists in the letter including financial matters will be agreed upon when the court is in session, so none of it will be a surprise or new information. Also, the conservator will receive the California Handbook for Conservators to remind them of their fiduciary duties and their conservatee’s rights so they do not fall into conservatorship abuse.
We Protect Your Loved One’s Legacy
These steps will not only get your family member or friend a conservatorship in California but also establish a lifelong plan that will ensure continued protection and help them with sound decision-making. Their perspective on stripped autonomy will change to newfound freedom under healthy boundaries a conservator sets without their mental or physical disabilities preventing it.
Our conservatorship lawyers take pride in protecting your loved one’s legacy by pairing them with a responsible conservator of their estate and conservator of their person. If you want to skip the intricate legalities of conservatorships and work with attorneys that care about your family, call us at (800).840.1998.