Which conservatorship is right for you?

Are you worried that someone could rob your elderly or disabled relative of their assets? When a vulnerable person needs someone to look out for their finances, the court can help you set up a conservatorship.

Conservatorships are set up much like a guardianship but only handle the finances of the person at risk. It could be their legal guardian, or another appropriate person.

What kinds of conservatorships exist?

Every situation is unique. Some people with disabilities are independent but may need help with long-term financial planning. Others need someone to look after their assets after they become incapacitated.

The following are conservatorships available in California:

  • General conservatorship: This covers an adult who cannot take care of themselves and needs a high level of care. This could be an elderly person or suddenly impaired young person.
  • Limited conservatorship: This covers an adult with a severe and chronic developmental disability. This person has no income other than Social Security but has assets.
  • Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) conservatorship: This covers an adult with a serious mental health illness who needs extensive care and cannot or does not agree to treatment on their own. Only a local government agency can order these arrangements.

If you are a conservator, the Superior Court Probate Department will review your work one year after it begins, and then every two years. This is to ensure that you are not taking advantage of the person’s finances and that you are handling the money responsibly as the person needs or would have wanted.

As a conservator for a person with a serious biological brain disorder (rather than a drug addiction, dementia, etc.) the court will look at your work seriously. Most of your decisions must coincide with hospital professionals, guardians and other interested parties about the person’s best interests.

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