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Is it Time to Consider a Limited Conservatorship?

Watching a loved one deteriorate physically or mentally can be devastating. If you have to also worry about the future of their financial affairs or medical care, however, the burden can be exponential. Hiring a Conservatorship Lawyer, such as Susan B. Geffen in Los Angeles, may be one of the best decisions you can make during this difficult or transitional stage of life for your loved one.

What is Conservatorship?

Conservatorship, also known as guardianship in some jurisdictions, is a legal arrangement in which a court appoints a responsible person or organization to manage the affairs and make decisions on behalf of another person, typically someone who is unable to make such decisions due to incapacity or disability.

Conservatorship can be established for minors, adults with disabilities, or elderly individuals who are no longer able to manage their own affairs. The appointed conservator is responsible for making decisions related to the person’s health care, financial affairs, and general welfare, and must act in the best interest of the individual under their care.

The process of establishing conservatorship typically involves filing a petition with the court, providing evidence of the individual’s incapacity or disability, and attending a hearing where the court will determine whether conservatorship is necessary and who the conservator should be. Conservatorship is a serious legal arrangement that involves significant responsibilities and obligations.

Conservatorship Laws in California

Conservatorship laws in California are governed by the California Probate Code. Here are some key provisions of California conservatorship laws:

  • Types of conservatorship: California law provides for two types of conservatorships: conservatorship of the person and conservatorship of the estate. Conservatorship of the person involves making decisions related to the individual’s personal care and medical treatment, while conservatorship of the estate involves managing the individual’s finances.
  • Establishing a conservatorship: A conservatorship can be established if a court finds that the individual is unable to provide for their own personal needs or manage their own finances due to a physical or mental condition.
  • Appointment of conservator: The court will appoint a conservator to manage the affairs of the individual. The conservator may be a family member, friend, or professional conservator.
  • Duties of conservator: The conservator has a duty to act in the best interests of the individual and to manage their affairs with the highest degree of care. The conservator must also file regular reports with the court.
  • Termination of conservatorship: A conservatorship can be terminated if the individual regains capacity, if the conservatorship is no longer necessary, or if the conservator is no longer capable or suitable.
  • Rights of the individual: Individuals subject to conservatorship in California have certain rights, including the right to counsel, the right to receive notice of all court proceedings related to the conservatorship, and the right to request a hearing to challenge the conservatorship.

Overall, conservatorship laws in California are designed to protect the interests of individuals who are unable to manage their own affairs due to physical or mental incapacity. A consultation with Conservatorship Attorney Susan B. Geffen can ensure that all legal requirements are met and the individual’s best interests are protected.

What is a Limited Conservatorship?

A limited conservatorship is a type of conservatorship in which the conservator’s powers are limited to specific areas of the conservatee’s life. Unlike a general conservatorship, where the conservator has broad powers to manage the conservatee’s affairs, a limited conservatorship is intended for individuals who have some capacity to manage their own affairs but still require assistance in certain areas.

In California, a limited conservatorship is typically established for individuals with developmental disabilities who are unable to fully manage their own affairs. The purpose of a limited conservatorship is to promote the conservatee’s independence and self-reliance while still providing the necessary support and protection.

The powers of a limited conservator are defined by the court and may include the ability to make decisions related to the conservatee’s personal care, medical treatment, education, and residence. However, the conservator’s powers may be limited in other areas, such as managing the conservatee’s finances.

To establish a limited conservatorship in California, a petition must be filed with the court, and the court must determine that the conservatee has a developmental disability and requires assistance in specific areas of their life. The court will also appoint an attorney to represent the conservatee and may require an evaluation by a medical or psychological professional.

Overall, a limited conservatorship can be a valuable tool for providing assistance and protection to individuals with developmental disabilities while still promoting their independence and self-determination. Attorney Susan B. Geffen is an experienced lawyer for limited conservatorship who keeps you and your loved one’s best interests at the forefront.

Reasons to Establish a Conservatorship or Limited Conservatorship

Does your situation warrant a conservatorship or limited conservatorship? It can be difficult to make this serious legal decision. Los Angeles attorney Susan B. Geffen has the experience you need to navigate this limited guardianship process.

There are several reasons why someone may need a conservatorship, including:

  • Age-related disabilities: As people age, they may develop physical or cognitive disabilities that make it difficult for them to manage their own affairs. In such cases, a conservatorship may be necessary to ensure their financial and medical needs are met.
  • Mental illness: Individuals with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder may struggle to make sound decisions and manage their own affairs. A conservatorship may be necessary to ensure they receive the care they need.
  • Developmental disabilities: Individuals with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome or autism may require assistance managing their affairs throughout their lives. A conservatorship may be necessary to ensure they receive the necessary care and support.
  • Substance abuse: Individuals with substance abuse issues may not be able to manage their affairs while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A conservatorship may be necessary to ensure they receive the care they need and to manage their finances.

Overall, a conservatorship is intended to protect the individual’s best interests and ensure they receive the care and support they need. It is an important legal tool that can provide peace of mind to both the individual and their loved ones.

Reasons to Terminate a Conservatorship

Susan B. Geffen is a Conservatorship Attorney who qualified to establish this type of guardianship as well as terminate it when needed. There may be situations where a conservatorship is no longer necessary or appropriate, and terminating the conservatorship may be in the best interests of the individual. Here are some common reasons to terminate a conservatorship:

  • The individual has regained capacity: If the individual has recovered their capacity to manage their own affairs, the conservatorship may no longer be necessary.
  • The conservatorship is no longer needed: If the individual’s condition has improved or their needs have changed, the conservatorship may no longer be necessary.
  • The conservator is no longer capable or suitable: If the conservator is no longer capable of fulfilling their duties or is not acting in the best interests of the individual, the conservatorship may need to be terminated.
  • The conservatorship is causing harm: If the conservatorship is causing harm to the individual, such as through financial exploitation or abuse, the conservatorship may need to be terminated.
  • The individual wishes to terminate the conservatorship: If the individual expresses a desire to terminate the conservatorship, the court may consider this as a factor in deciding whether to terminate the conservatorship.

In general, termination of a conservatorship requires a court order, and the process can be complex. It is important to have a skilled limited conservatorship lawyer to protect your rights at every step.

How Conservatorship Attorney Susan B. Geffen Can Help

A conservatorship lawyer is defined as a legal professional who specializes in helping clients establish, manage, and terminate conservatorships. As a trusted conservatorship lawyer, Susan B. Geffen can undertake the following specific tasks for her clients:

  • Advise clients on their legal options: A conservatorship lawyer can provide guidance on whether a conservatorship is necessary and what type of conservatorship is most appropriate.
  • Assist with the conservatorship petition: To establish a conservatorship, a petition must be filed with the court. A conservatorship lawyer can assist with preparing and filing the petition.
  • Represent clients in court: A conservatorship lawyer can represent clients in court proceedings related to the establishment, management, or termination of a conservatorship.
  • Help manage the conservatorship: Once a conservatorship is established, a conservatorship lawyer can provide guidance on how to manage the conservatorship effectively and ensure compliance with legal requirements.
  • Terminate the conservatorship: If the conservatorship is no longer necessary or appropriate, a conservatorship lawyer can assist with terminating the conservatorship and returning control of the individual’s affairs to them.

Contact a Limited Conservatorship Lawyer in Los Angeles Today!

Are you concerned about someone taking advantage of your loved one’s mental or developmental disability? A limited conservatorship can offer this protection and can keep your loved one well cared for and safe. Los Angeles attorney Susan B. Geffen has the experience you need to navigate the limited guardianship process. In her career, Susan has worked with many families facing similar situations, and she can provide the same care for you and your family.

Contact our South Bay office today to schedule a consultation.

California Conservatorship Attorney

How to Obtain a Conservatorship in California

Before we go over how to obtain a Conservatorship in California, we need to understand some terminology. In California, unlike other states, we call a protective proceeding for an adult a conservatorship. While a protective proceeding for a minor is called guardianship.

They serve the same purpose – to manage medical and or financial affairs for someone who is unable to, due to age or infirmity. This impaired individual is appointed a guardian or protector by the court who can step in as (the “conservator”). Guardianship in California is a vehicle used to assist those 18 an under. To make things even more confusing there are 3 different types of conservatorship proceedings.

A General Conservatorship:

Most often used in the cases of an elderly person whose mental or physical capacity has been severely compromised due to aging.

A Limited Conservatorship:

Generally set up for those who have developmental disabilities, such as individuals with autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, or mental retardation that began before their 18th birthday.

A LPS conservatorship:

(Also known as a mental health conservatorship is part of the Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act 1967.) An LPS Conservatorship is the legal term used in California. It gives the conservator the responsibility for overseeing the comprehensive medical (mental) treatment for an adult conservatee who has a serious mental illness. Conservatees in LPS Conservatorships are usually adults who require very restrictive living arrangements and/or require extensive mental health treatment. LPS Conservatorships must be started by a local government agency.

In order to get a conservatorship, you must file certain papers with the court. The goal is to obtain an order from the Judge and letters of conservatorship that the newly appointed conservator can use with banks and doctors, etc. The paperwork and the court appearances required to put things in order can be overwhelming.  In order to get a hearing, one must typically wait 60 days. In emergency situations, you can get a hearing in as little as 5 court days. This is called a temporary conservatorship. If successful, you will be provided with temporary letters to use until the hearing on the permanent (resulting in permanent letters).

Even though this seems like a daunting process, don’t let that keep you from taking charge of a dangerous or life-threatening situation. At the Law Offices of Susan B. Geffen, we have the knowledge and skills to file the necessary paperwork to accomplish our client’s goals.

Steps for filing for a Conservatorship:

1. File a Petition For Conservatorship with the court:

The petition must include information about the proposed conservator. This includes potential conservatee, relatives, and the petitioner (person filing the case in court). It must also include reasons explaining why the conservatorship is necessary and should be granted. As well as, why the possible alternatives are not available in this case.

2. File a Confidential Supplemental Information Form:

This form details why the proposed conservatee is unable to care for their own personal and financial needs.

3. File a Confidential Conservatorship Screening Form:

The Confidential Conservatorship Screening Form must be filled out by the proposed conservator. The form includes questions about the conservator’s relationship to the conservatee, about the conservator’s criminal background, and any other relevant information.

4. File a Duties of Conservator Form:

This form outlines what the conservator will be doing for the conservatee. This includes information such as taking care of the conservatee, keeping records and accountings of finances, providing information to the court, etc. The proposed conservator must read and sign this form to acknowledge that they have received this information along with the Handbook for Conservators. Click here for an online copy https://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/handbook.pdf

5. Serve Notice on the Conservatee:

You must inform the potential conservatee of the proposed conservatorship by delivering a citation and a copy of the petition. The citation must be delivered by an individual who is NOT a party in the conservatorship. This means that the proposed conservator cannot deliver the citation. A family member or professional may deliver the citation.

6. Provide Notice to the Conservatee’s Relatives:

You must mail a copy of the petition along with written notice about the court hearing on the conservatorship petition to the conservatee’s spouse/domestic partner and close relatives. These documents must be mailed by someone other than the petitioner.

7. Obtain a bond.

The bond protects the conservatee’s assets.  If the conservator engages in theft, fraud, misrepresentation, or improper handling of assets a claim can be made against the bond.  The conservatorship bond amount is determined by the judge and is based on the worth of the financials or estate of the person you are caring for. You won’t have to pay the entire bond amount to get bonded, but you will have to pay an annual premium for the bond, until the bond is released from the court. You will pay for a small percentage of the total bond amount. For example, if the court requires you to provide a bond in the amount of $100,000, you will not have to pay $100,000. Depending on your approval with the surety company, you might only need to pay around $400 – $500.

At the Law Offices of Susan B. Geffen, we have handled dozens and dozens of general and limited conservatorships. Susan B. Geffen is not only an elder law attorney but holds a Master of Science degree in gerontology from the University of Southern California. Giving her a unique insight into the struggles that both a concerned family may have about a loved one’s ability to continue to care for themselves.