When drafting a will, parents of younger children will typically name individuals who will become the guardians of those children if the parents pass away. For those who are caretakers of adults who are unable to live independently, it is imperative to understand and establish a limited conservatorship for these loved ones. This can reinforce the independence they need to live fulfilling lives.
In a conservatorship, the court assesses the fragility of an individual who may not be able to care for their own needs or who may be taken advantage of if in the wrong hands. Typically, a conservator is a family member or a close friend. The conservator is in charge of ensuring the adult who cannot take care of themselves is safe and secure. A professional private conservator or a public guardian can be court-appointed if no one in their immediate family is willing to serve in that capacity.
The three kinds of conservatorships include:
Depending on the needs of the conservatee, the type of conservatorship that applies to their situation can vary. For example, limited conservatorships are established for adults that have a high degree of functioning but may still need assistance with medical decisions, relationship formation, and financial planning. The goal of a conservatorship is to prevent a conservatee from being taken advantage of. This is why the verification process is so rigorous.
A conservatorship is not the same thing as a guardianship. In California, a conservator is chosen to look after the needs of an incompetent adult. A guardian is chosen to represent and administer the affairs of a minor child. Health care and estate issues are typically involved in conservatorships. Guardianships are typically created when both parents can no longer give a young child a safe and secure home. This usually occurs in cases where both parents pass away.
A conservator is typically a family member or close family friend appointed by the court to care for an adult who is disabled or unable. If no family members or close friends are available to serve as conservators, the court may appoint a private professional conservator or a public guardian. The possible conservator, the conservatee, the spouse or relative of the conservatee, or a state or local public officer can name a conservator for an individual. Still, for parents, this can be done in a will.
During the probate process, any sections about conservatorships will be evaluated alongside other parts of the decedent’s estate plan. Just like the process of confirming a guardian, a conservator must follow a process to be officially appointed:
A: In a limited conservatorship, the court considers the vulnerability of an individual who may be unable to care for their own needs, such as food, shelter, medical treatment, or managing personal funds, or who may be exploited if in the wrong hands. Typically, a conservator is a family member or a close friend. A public guardian can be court-appointed if no one in their immediate family is willing to serve in that capacity.
A: In a limited conservatorship, the individual who is being cared for by their conservator is given a certain degree of freedom. This allows them to make choices that are not available to those in a full conservatorship. For a traditional conservatorship, the guardian of the conservatee will be in full control of that individual’s life. A limited conservatorship is best for giving the conservatee the most amount of freedom while still having crucial support from a conservator.
A: When a conservator is chosen, the conservatee must be notified first to keep them involved in the process. From there, the conservator must enroll in education classes that properly prepare them for their role as a conservator. Afterward, the completion certificate for this course must be sent to the court. They can then formally appoint the individual to legally assume the role of conservator.
A: Aside from filing fees ranging from $278 to $1,176, the cost of retaining counsel for a conservatorship hearing varies depending on the firm chosen. The length of these hearings typically falls between 10 and 12 weeks. However, if disputes or problems with the process occur during this time, the length of time in court and the price for legal services can vary.
When going through the probate process, a limited conservatorship for any family members in need of extra support will be discussed and finalized with the executor of the estate. To plan for their passing, parents of children with developmental disorders who require constant care can ensure that their children are well taken care of by naming a conservator in their will. To establish a limited conservatorship in an estate plan, contact the probate professionals of Sweeney Probate Law today.