Limited and General Conservatorships in Santa Clara County, California
As we discuss the different types of conservatorship, we’ve got two important definitions for you to keep in mind. Under a conservatorship arrangement, the person who needs the conservatorship is known as the conservatee. The family member, good friend, or service entity that cares for the conservatee is called the conservator. This is often the responsible person closest to the conservatee, but it can also be a professional appointed by Adult Protective Services. In some states, these people can be called public guardians, although that term isn’t usually used in California.
Someone can end up needing a conservatorship due to mental illness, old age, physical impairment, or a variety of other issues that require special care. Whatever the case, there are two kinds of conservatorships in Santa Clara County: limited conservatorship as well as general conservatorship. Here’s an overview of both.
Generally, the court prefers limited conservatorships because they enable conservatees to maintain as much self-reliance as feasible. In a limited conservatorship, the conservatee may have some ability to care for themselves. The conservator’s powers are therefore limited to whatever tasks the disabled person may not be able to manage. This reduces the likelihood of the conservator exerting undue influence on the disabled person.
As an example, the conservatee may have a mental disorder that prevents them from handling their financial affairs, yet they might be able to deal with their own physical demands (clothing, consumption, etc.). In this situation, limited conservator power would suffice.
On the other hand, a general conservatorship permits more extensive assistance for of the conservatee. This type of conservatorship permits the conservator to provide for the majority of, if not all, of the conservatee’s medical and personal care decisions as well as monetary needs. This type of conservatorship is best for a person who is incapable of taking care of themselves or making economic decisions.
With a general conservatorship that encompasses both conservatorship of the estate and the person, you may be able to shoulder responsibility for health-care decisions, psychiatric treatment, any financial transaction, and more. We’ll discuss this a bit more in the next section.
Either of the above types of conservatorship can be a temporary or permanent conservatorship. Temporary conservatorships, such as a one-year conservatorship, are for people who don’t need permanent help. For example, someone may be in the hospital under conservatorship if they suffer a head injury and require an intensive treatment plan for their temporary mental illness. On the other hand, if your loved one needs permanent help and cannot recover due to old age or irreversible injury that requires constant medical treatment, they may need a permanent conservatorship.
A Conservator’s Responsibilities in Santa Clara County
A conservator has lots of responsibilities. The responsibilities you may face depending largely on whether you’re a conservator of the person, conservator of the estate, or both. If you are working as the conservator of the person, your tasks might consist of:
- Arranging for the conservatee’s meals, medical care, clothing, housekeeping, and transportation as well as overall wellness.
- Choosing where the conservatee lives and the type of recreation they take part in.
If you are serving as the conservator of an individual’s estate, the duties exclusively center around financial decisions. These responsibilities may consist of handling the conservatee’s funds, keeping track of the conservatee’s income, paying the conservatee’s expenses, and maintaining monetary documents as well as providing regular economic records to the court. You may also have to manage assets, including real property.
Mental Health Conservatorships
There are other types of conservatorships as well, but if your loved one simply needs help with managing their affairs or legal decisions and isn’t a danger to themselves, these probably don’t apply. If you feel more serious measures may be in order in your case, check out our article about mental health conservatorship, also known as LPS conservatorship.
This is only for persons with mental illnesses that legally qualify as specific biological brain disorders or organic brain disorders. A hearing officer will require extensive psychological services and behavioral health services for this type of conservatorship.
Paperwork Required to File Conservatorship in Santa Clara County
As a conservatorship is a serious affair, you need quite a few documents to file a conservatorship in Santa Clara County Court. If you do wish to try to submit a conservatorship without contacting a lawyer referral service, some people choose to reach out to Santa Clara Superior Court at 408-882-2100. They can help identify documents you may need to declare conservatorship in your area.
Others choose an easier route at contact A People’s Choice for affordable yet effective legal document prep online services.
Here are the forms you need to begin Santa Clara County conservatorship application:
- Application for Consultation of Probate Conservator GC-310
- Notification of Hearing-Guardianship or Conservatorship GC-020
- Attachment to Notification of Hearing Proof of Service by Mail GC-020 (MA).
- Pre-Move Notification of Proposed Modification of Personal Home GC-079.
- Confidential Supplemental Information (Probate Conservatorship) GC-312.
- Citation for Conservatorship/Proof of Service GC-320.
- Responsibilities of Conservator and Recommendation of Receipt of Manual GC-348.
- Confidential Conservator Testing (Probate Conservatorship) GC-314.
- Order Appointing Probate Conservator GC-340.
- Letters of Conservatorship GC-350.
- Capacity Declaration-Conservatorship GC-335.
- Mental Deterioration Attachment to Capability Affirmation/Conservatorship GC-335A.
- Add-on to Judicial Council MC-025.
If this seems overwhelming, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many soon-to-be conservators decide to hire A People’s Choice for affordable help with their conservatorship documents. We can aid you in correctly filling out your forms and filing them with Santa Clara Superior Court.
How to File for Conservatorship in Santa Clara County, California
As you file for conservatorship in Santa Clara County, California, you’ll need to keep in mind that the Santa Clara Superior Court is located at 191 N First St, San Jose, CA 95113, United States. Check their website for the most recent hours. At the time of writing, Santa Clara County Court hours are 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Fridays.
Now, here is the basic conservatorship hearing process in Santa Clara County.
1. File a Request for Conservatorship
One of the first steps of acquiring conservatorship in Santa Clara County is completing and submitting a request for conservatorship. These application files cover information regarding the recommended conservatory, conservatee, and the conservatee’s prompt relatives as well as the factors for conservatorship (limited conservatorship, LPS conservatorship, etc.).
The request also needs to describe to the court why a conservatorship is the only way forward to manage the financial matters or everyday affairs of the person. Ultimately, the petition should be filed with the Santa Clara Superior Court. This also involves the financial transaction of the filing fee.
2. Serve the Notification of Request
Once you’ve filed the application, the court clerk sets up a special hearing date for your case. At that point, a neutral grownup needs to serve the recommended conservatee notification of the petition for conservatorship. In addition, they have to likewise offer the family members of the recommended conservatee.
At the same time, conservatorship investigations must begin. A court-appointed detective talks to the suggested conservatee and others to accumulate more information regarding the conservatee’s problem. Depending on the type of conservatorship you’re applying for, an independent psychiatrist may need to provide their expert opinion as well as a part of conservatorship investigations.
3. Go to a Santa Clara County Court Hearing
For this step, the conservatee must participate in the special hearing unless they do not have the ability to do so. Throughout the hearing, the court identifies if all relatives were correctly alerted by being served with a notification of the hearing. In addition, the judge might designate an attorney to stand for the proposed conservatee. Ultimately, the court might approve or deny the conservatorship during this hearing.
4. Fulfill Your New Duties
Lastly, as long as the court grants conservatorship, the court files an order designating the conservator and issuing the letters of conservatorship. Once the court issues the letters, you may presume the powers accredited as per the court order. Be sure to review the Handbook for Conservators to learn more about your brand-new role and help your conservatee with their financial matters, mental illness, and more.
What Are Alternatives to a Conservatorship in Santa Clara County?
Sometimes, a person can avoid the conservatorship filing process through estate planning. This consists of having a valid power of attorney for economic and also health-related issues in the estate plan itself. The protected party must, of course, be of sound mind when they sign a lawful paper. This includes signing a power of attorney or health care instruction.
You can consider doing this in your own estate planning. Additionally, if you have an aging parent or someone who may need the help of a conservator in the not-so-distant future due to a mental disorder or other difficulties, you may want to encourage them to take this step. If the need should arise, this will make getting them mental health treatment, personal care assistance, or safe and comfortable living accommodations easier for you as the person responsible for their welfare.
Finally, you can contact county public services, such as Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services and the Santa Clara County Department of Health Care Services. These departments can help you explore alternative ways to help your loved one with their everyday needs, psychiatric treatment plan, medical treatment, and more.
How to File for Conservatorship in Santa Clara County with A People’s Choice
Call A People’s Choice to learn more concerning filing for conservatorship in Santa Clara County or about alternatives to a conservatorship. We offer clients online services and assistance with all their legal document needs to make applying for conservatorship in California as easy and affordable as possible.
While we can’t help you make legal decisions, we can provide you with the support you need to help your loved ones with their financial matters, placement decisions, and more through a conservatorship. In addition to offering online resources in Santa Clara County, we also serve surrounding areas, including San Joaquin River, San Joaquin Valley, Orange County, Mountain View, Santa Cruz County, and more. Call us today at 800-747-2780 to get started.
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