It’s no secret that sometimes people lose their ability to make decisions. This can happen due to old age or a long-standing illness, but it can also happen because of an accident or other emergency. What if this happens to someone you love, but you don’t have the automatic decision-making powers of a spouse? You may well have to find out how to get emergency conservatorship powers.

In an emergency situation, you may need to act quickly to help your loved one get a short-term conservatorship. This post will show you what an emergency conservatorship is in California and how to get an emergency conservatorship in California.

What Is a Conservatorship in California?

Before you jump into emergency conservatorships, you need to understand what a conservatorship is. A conservatorship is a legal arrangement in which a conservator manages another person’s (conservatee) personal or financial affairs. The most basic type of conservatorship is probate conservatorship.

Conservatorships can help a conservatee who lacks the mental ability or physical ability to manage their own affairs. This inability may be due to a variety of factors, from old age to degenerative disorders to an inherited mental illness or chronic drug abuse.

The conservator can be a person or company with the legal authority to take care of the conservatee’s affairs. They receive vocational training and are required to deliver regular reports on the conservatee’s financial or medical condition to the court.

Types of Conservatorships:

how to get emergency conservatorship

There are four a few varieties of conservatorships out there. They vary based on the duration of authority and the types of decisions the conservator has to make. Read on below to determine the one that will fit your conservatee situation. This is important even for emergency conservatorship because each emergency conservatorship must be tied to an application for a more permanent arrangement (more on that later).

Areas of Conservatorship in California

First, there are the types of decisions the conservator makes. This can take the form of a conservatorship of the person or conservatorship of the estate.

Conservator of the person: This is all about the personal conservators managing the conservatee’s personal affairs and personal care. It can include arranging for housing and food, scheduling medical and psychological services, making medical decisions, changing a living situation, and so on.

Conservator of the estate: A conservator of the estate manages a conservatee’s financial decisions. This can include paying bills and managing financial investments. A conservator of the estate might manage business affairs and take care of income from social security, retirement, or medical leave, for example.

There are also other varieties of conservatorships, such as the limited conservatorship and the LPS conservatorship ((Lanterman-Petris Short) conservatorship). You can learn about these on the A People’s Choice blog.

Duration of Conservatorship in California

First, let’s talk about permanent conservatorships. Irreversible or permanent conservatorships are usually the true objective conservatorships. Permanent conservators work well for impaired elderly people, and they are also used for younger people who need help due to accidents, addictions, illnesses, or disabilities.

Permanent or long-term conservatorships may terminate under specific circumstances, such as the resignation or death of the conservator.

Emergency Conservatorship

The court takes 60 days to prepare for a permanent conservatorship hearing. Sometimes, though, it’s not possible to wait that long. Through an emergency petition, you can request that the court appoint a temporary conservator (also known as an emergency conservator) instead.

After an emergency conservatorship petition, you wait just five days before the court hearing. An emergency conservatorship in California lasts in between 30 to 60 days.

Emergency conservatorships can also be put in place while a petition for renewal or reappointment of conservatorship is being processed. Keep in mind that you can’t request an emergency conservatorship (also known as a temporary conservatorship) without a larger conservatorship application.

Limitations on Emergency Conservators in California

Due to the shorter duration of an emergency conservatorship, the power of the short-term conservator over a conservatee isn’t as overarching as those involved in a more permanent conservatorship. This certainly isn’t a case of unlimited conservator power. For example:

  • Emergency conservators of the person can’t make certain long-term medical treatment decisions
  • An emergency conservator of the estate cannot market or rent any of the prospective conservatee’s estate and real property

However, the court usually considers all types of conservatorship situations on a case-by-case basis. They might allow a temporary appointment, even one of limited conservator power, to make some extra decisions. For example, a temporary conservator may be able to sell a conservator’s property if the conservatee needs to pay for an important treatment program.

Want to find out more about these types of situations and the limitations on emergency conservators? Check out the California Handbook for Conservators.

How to Get an Emergency Conservatorship in California

how to get emergency conservatorship

The following steps will guide you through the legal process for an emergency conservatorship.

1. Submit a Petition for Appointment of Emergency Conservator

First, you need to petition for conservatorship to start the conservatorship proceedings. You can do this by submitting an application for the appointment of a conservator.

Bear in mind that a petition for an emergency conservator has to be made in tandem with a basic conservatorship request for an actual conservator. Therefore, you’ll be asking for both at the same time.

Basically, anyone can file for a conservatorship. These people include:

  • The individuals closest to the conservatee
  • The emergency conservatee
  • The recommended conservator
  • A public guardian or public conservator
  • The recommended conservatee’s relatives or a suitable family friend
  • Anyone else with interest in the case

Your application for an emergency conservatorship must include the following:

  • Information on the proposed conservatee, their family members, and the potential conservator
  • The connection between the suggested conservator and the conservatee
  • Why the conservatorship issue has arisen (why the conservatee needs help) and why they cannot wait on a long-term conservatorship

There are other documents related to your initial petition as well. A People’s Choice can assist you file all the suitable documents with the notary. As soon as you’ve prepared the paperwork, you pay the filing charges and the court examination cost at the time of declaring.

2. Informing All Parties

As a petitioner, you need to find a third party to serve papers to certain people for this step of the conservatorship process. Since you need to have an emergency conservator quickly, you won’t have a 30-day duration or 14-day period to complete this. You need to handle this reasonable notice requirement quickly.

You should have your server notify the ill or disabled person and other interested parties (relatives, etc.) with a copy of the application and a citation on the court hearing. Your server then must provide proof to the court that this step has been completed as part of the emergency conservatorship plan.

3. The Court Conservatorship Investigation

This part of the emergency conservatorship action process is meant to prevent unneeded conservatorships from being approved. The court investigator will check out the potential conservatee as part of the emergency conservatorship procedure to see if your conservatee’s situation meets the lawful standards for a conservatorship.

The conservatorship investigator may consider the conservatee’s state, properties, medical scenario and treatment record. This is a shortened version of what takes place throughout the basic conservatorship procedure.

4. Court Hearing

With a court hearing, the conservatorship court decides whether your recommended conservatee is qualified for short-term conservatorship or not. The incapacitated person should attend this unless the court detective waives this need. Infirm or elderly individuals that cannot participate in are likewise excluded. For example, if the conservatee needs round-the-clock care, they won’t be required to attend.

If the court declares your suggested conservatee eligible after considering the emergency appointment, it issues temporary letters of conservatorship. These include the order assigning an emergency conservator.

Both the proposed conservatee and the emergency specialist conservator must sign and submit the papers to the court to make the conditions for appointment official. After that, the temporary conservatorship appointment is complete, and the conservator can start fulfilling their duties.

How Much Does an Emergency Conservatorship Cost?

Emergency conservatorship expenses aren’t so different from those of a permanent conservatorship, as they’re wrapped up in the same process. The fees include a filing fee for submitting a petition, a court investigation, and attorney costs in many cases.

It normally costs a $465 flat fee to file for a conservatorship in California for an adult conservatee. The court investigation fee varies depending upon the court and also your conservatee’s assets. Other charges include the conservator’s cost and the court-appointed lawyer’s costs.

If you cannot afford all these charges, there is a fee waiver readily available for those who require it. If the conservatorship court accepts your waiver request, you will be given a procedure on how to proceed with it.

Do You Need a Conservatorship Attorney for an Emergency Conservatorship?

You most likely do not require a conservatorship attorney for a successful emergency conservatorship application. The exemption to this is if the conservatee, a relative, or a concerned family friend files a dispute with the emergency conservator petition. Typically, in this situation, both you and the various other parties require an attorney (or, at the very least, a family law facilitator).

Barring a dispute, the hardest part of an emergency conservatorship application is generally the documentation. Legal document preparation can give a lot of people a difficult time. Luckily, A People’s Choice can assist you with this.

How to Get an Emergency Conservatorship with A People’s Choice

how to get emergency conservatorship

Unlike a long-term conservatorship, an emergency conservatorship is a rushed process to urgently assist someone in need. You have little time to take care of all the legal documents or paperwork when getting this petition ready. A People’s Choice is a legal document preparation platform that can help.

It is easy to get overwhelmed if you’re attempting to submit lawful documentation alone, so let A People’s Choice help you. We have a budget-friendly and trusted team that can help with all your legal documents. We cannot give legal advice; however, we can aid you with a variety of civil documents, including emergency conservatorships, arrangements for a limited conservator, and more. Call us today to get started!