Establishing a conservatorship in California requires the filing of formal legal proceedings. The paperwork and process is quite complicated and involves several steps.
Some adults, as part of their estate planning, who are concerned about their future mental and physical incapacity, may create a power of attorney or a living trust, to avoid the necessity of a conservatorship should they become incapacitated.
In the power of attorney, they are able to choose who they want to make decisions for them if they become impaired and cannot make the decisions themselves. In order to sign a power of attorney and appoint an agent should they become mentally ill, the person must have their full mental capacity. A power of attorney cannot be signed by someone who is mentally impaired.
If an individual has not made prior arrangements through a power of attorney or a living trust, or if the person handling the power of attorney or trust is incapable to act or dishonest, a court conservatorship may become necessary.