Knowing how to respond to your incapacitated loved one is crucial for their well-being. Whether they are a senior adult or a special needs child, they have legal rights to make decisions on their own.
But it may be the case that these choices are destroying their lives and harming others.
A conservatorship is one legal solution to get your family member or friend on the right track. You may have heard the news popularize the term over the past decade due to the Britney Spears case.
We believe that learning about conservatorships will help you pursue the best help for your loved one moving forward. If legal action is required, you can prevent the vulnerable person from causing more devastation in their life.
What is a conservatorship?
As we discussed, a conservatorship is a legal arrangement you can petition for an incapactiated individual to the courts. This could involve them being unable to manage their mental health, a developmental disability, an addiction, or a physical disability.
They cannot execute sound judgement when dealing with these conditions and could be at risk to themselves and others.
Although they have mental and physical rights as a US citizen, sometimes the court orders a conservator to violate them for their protection. A judge will appoint them a conservator that takes care of their daily tasks and finances.
Conservatorships are different from a power of attorney in that the individual does not comply willingly. You and the proposed conservatee enter court proceedings that strip away decisions of their health care, financial affairs, and more.
What is the role of a conservator?
A conservator’s role depends on the specific circumstances and what your loved one can or cannot do in their life. The parties at the official court hearing will rule what areas they are lacking and give the conservator the appropriate powers.
Conservator of the Estate
The conservatee’s estate is all their financial assets, including checking and savings accounts, properties, and investments. They will put everything into a conservatorship bank account and manage them during the conservatorship.
Your loved one’s conservator also helps them with financial planning to pay their bills.
To prevent financial theft under this legal arrangement, a conservator records all their transactions and activities and informs the judge.
Conservator of the Person
In addition, a conservator’s role could also be to care for your family member or friend.
From brushing their teeth and making their meals to deciding on medical treatments and social groups, the conservatee is subject to anything their conservator feels is in their best interest.
They must ensure your loved one can make the most decisions possible without unnecessary restrictions on their civil rights.
What are the types of conservatorship?
Many people mistake conservatorships as being only for their elderly parents or grandparents. The truth of the matter is that special needs children entering adulthood, an often overlooked group, can also benefit from conservatorship.
Young and old adults, mentally disabled adults, and the mentally incapacitated are all eligible for conservatorships that prevent future harm to themselves and others.
The most general conservatorship type you’ll hear about are those that go to the probate courts. Anyone over the age of 18 can receive an official court hearing against their will if it means acting in their best interest.
However, a loved one must petition for a conservatorship and the judge must approve the request by reviewing the proper evidence.
Upcoming special needs adults can receive legal assistance for decision-making via a limited conservatorship. While you may lose the ability to help them navigate life as a parent, a legally-appointed relative or worker can step into your place.
We think of these legal arrangements as an extension of their IEP through the court system and a chance to help them leave the bird’s nest and go off on their own.
Alcoholics, depressed persons, and those with severe mental incapacitation require an LPS Conservatorship that is more restrictive in nature. The court appoints a conservator for these unique cases when your loved one must live in an institution or residential facility.
Your family member or friend may be in an emergency that cannot wait any longer, such as a suicide attempt or a drug overdose. Therefore, a judge springs into action by assigning them a temporary conservatorship.
After the court hearing, this legal arrangement often rolls over into a probate conservatorship. Then, a conservator can assist with your loved one’s personal affairs so they do not wreck their lives.
How does a conservatorship work?
Conservatorship can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re filing for a loved one without an experienced conservatorship attorney. But by the end of the claim, you will take 3 basic steps during the conservatorship process.
The process begins when you reach out to the court and file for a conservatorship. After you enact a petition, the judge will review your evidence and reasoning to see if it is a case that requires legal assistance.
If it is, the judge will send out a court investigator as a middle man for further questioning. They will even interview, you, the proposed conservatee, and other significant third-parties.
The final step of a conservatorship process is the hearing, where everyone is present for the judge to decide whether a conservatorship is necessary. The court appoints a conservator in the end and review their legal powers and responsibilities.
Conservatorships are the #1 Incapacitation Solution
If you have an incapacitated loved one that could harm themselves or others, you are not alone. Millions of Americans every year file for conservatorships and receive the help they need.
Our team strongly urges you to consider a conservatorship as the legal solution for your family member or friend. We believe it will bring peace of mind and a sure resolution to everyone involved.
You can call us to explain more about the circumstances surrounding your love one’s suffering during a consultation so we can give expert feedback for how to move forward.
To schedule a meeting with one of our experienced conservatorship attorneys, give us a call at (800)-840-1998. We are excited to meet with you in Fountain Valley, Laguna Hills, Torrence, or wherever in California you call home.