Many of Susan’s clients ask her about conservatorships, why they can be necessary and how to determine if it is time to create one for a loved one. Creating a conservatorship is a serious process, and it takes a very knowledgeable and experienced attorney, like Susan B. Geffen, to evaluate whether or not a conservatorship is realistic and/or necessary.
A conservatorship is a way for someone to assume legal guardianship over an adult. Families often consider creating a conservatorship when there are growing medical, financial and mental health needs with an elderly parent. The status of a conservatorship depends on the capacity of the individual to make decisions on their own. Limited conservatorships can only address specific matters while leaving other matters to the individual in question.
A full conservatorship places the full authority over the conservatee into the hands of the conservator. When this type of legal structure involves a minor, it is known as a guardianship. Some legal jurisdictions often refer to conservatorships as adult guardianships.
What is a Conservatorship?
A conservatorship is created when the local California probate court appoints a conservator to protect the proposed conservatee from serious health problems and/or from undue influence in financial matters. Elder abuse is often cited as a primary factor when considering a conservatorship.
The procedure for establishing a conservatorship is to file a petition with the probate court to obtain Letters of Conservatorship. Along with the petition, there are a number of other forms that are filed with the court. These additional forms outline the reasons for the conservatorship, information on the proposed conservator and a list of close relatives and friends.
After the petition is filed, the court appoints a volunteer attorney to represent the proposed conservatee’s rights. In Los Angeles, this attorney is paid out of the proposed conservatee’s assets. The attorney meets with the proposed conservatee and contacts relatives and friends. Thereafter the attorney writes a report with a recommendation as to whether the court should appoint a conservator. If the proposed conservatee objects or a family member or friend, a long trial can ensue.
Los Angeles attorney Susan Geffen has experience with many different types of conservatorships including:
How Can a Conservatorship Benefit My Loved One in California?
The advantage of a conservatorship is that there is court supervision which protects the conservatee from abuse. Sometimes there is no alternative to a conservatorship if the proposed conservatee will not accept assistance voluntarily. The conservatorship is reviewed by the court after six months, and then annually thereafter.
A conservatorship is granted to benefit the proposed conservatee, not the conservator. When the individual in question is judged to be mentally unable to make their own decisions, a conservatorship can be considered. In almost every case, this is a judgment based on mental incapacity. Physical incapacity rarely creates a situation where a conservatorship is necessary.
- Coma or total incapacity – In this state, the individual is physically incapable of responding, making a decision or communicating.
- Illness (Alzheimer’s, dementia etc.) – In this situation, the individual is considered mentally incapacitated, even if they can clearly communicate.
- Permanent or genetic disability – In this state, the individual has a permanent mental disability that prevents them from ever reaching legal maturity or a state of independence.
Protecting your loved one in a situation like those described above is vitally important, as nefarious persons often seek to prey on the disabled or unaware. A conservatorship allows a carefully selected individual to oversee the care and protection of a loved one so their future is secure.
Los Angeles attorney Susan B. Geffen understands how difficult and emotionally taxing things can get when loved ones age or otherwise become unable to care for themselves or their affairs. She has worked with hundreds of families in similar situations and is here to help. Susan has many years of experience as a conservatorship attorney, and she would be happy to answer your questions to assist you in these trying times.
Call or contact Susan online to schedule a confidential conservatorship consultation in Los Angeles or the surrounding area.
Susan helps clients from all over California including the following cities and surrounding areas:
I am so relieved to have found Susan! She is extremely knowledgable on all areas of elder care, from financial planning to choosing the right facility for my mother. I was feeling overwhelmed when I suddenly became the caretaker for my mother many years before I had expected to be in this situation. I requested a consultation on Susan's website, heard back from her office promptly, and met with her soon after. Susan is extremely warm and compassionate. Even though we don't have a lot of resources, Susan helped me with an actionable plan for years to come. This system is so overwhelming if you are trying to navigate it alone. Now, thankfully, I don't have to.