What is a Conservatorship?

You may notice a loved one is having trouble handling their finances – such as forgetting to pay bills or unable to balance his or her checkbook.  Or you are concerned that others are taking financial advantage of your loved one.  You may notice a loved one needs help taking care of his or her personal needs – remembering to take medications or not being safe in the home.  A conservatorship may be the answer.

There are several types of conservatorships and an attorney can assist you to determine which type best suits your concerns.  The most common types of conservatorships are conservatorship of the person, conservatorship of the estate, limited conservatorship and what is referred to as a LPS conservatorship.

A conservatorship is a court action which takes place in a “probate court” in California.  In a conservatorship of the person, the court will appoint someone to manage the personal care of your loved one.  Personal care means his or her physical health, medical care, food, clothing and shelter.  In a conservatorship of the estate, the court will appoint someone to manage financial affairs, such as bank accounts and property.

Who can be appointed as a conservator?  Usually, a family member or a fiduciary is appointed as the conservator.  A fiduciary is a professional, licensed and independent person who can assist families when a family member cannot or does not want to be a conservator.

There are many requirements to be a conservator in order to protect your loved one and there are many court forms to begin the conservatorship case.  The requirements and forms are too numerous to discuss here, but I will write more about these topics in an upcoming blog post.  To learn more about this court process and to learn if it meets your concerns, it is recommended that you contact an attorney specializing in conservatorships.