A limited conservatorship for developmentally disabled individuals is when a judge appoints another person (conservator) to help a developmentally disabled adult (conservatee). The conservatee is a person who suffers from a developmental disability which, as a result, makes them unable to provide for some of their personal and/or financial needs. A person is deemed developmentally disabled if he/she has an IQ lower than 70 or diagnosed with autism. As part of this process, the court will order the conservatee tested prior to approving a limited conservatorship. Conservators are usually parents, siblings, or an immediate family member of the conservatee.

Powers of Conservator in Limited Conservatorship

The powers granted in a conservatorship for developmentally disabled are completely different than in a regular conservatorship. For example, during the limited conservatorship hearing, the judge will state exactly what the conservator can and cannot do on behalf of the conservatee. These limited powers are further discussed in another article. As an illustration, the judge may allow the conservator to be able to act and make decisions regarding some or all of the following activities:

  1. Decide where the conservatee will live
  2. Sign legal documents on behalf of the conservatee
  3. Provide consent for the conservatee to receive medical treatment
  4. Provide consent for the conservatee to wed
  5. Manage the conservatee’s finances

Keep in mind, the court will continue to supervise the limited conservatorship for developmentally disabled individuals once it has been granted. In particular, the investigator has authority to periodically interview the conservatee to make sure he/she is being properly cared after. Furthermore, after the court has approved the limited conservatorship, the court-appointed investigator will continue to review the case on a periodic basis.

How to Obtain a Limited Conservatorship for Developmentally Disabled

The legal paperwork required to request a limited conservatorship of developmentally disabled is very detailed and can be overwhelming. Indeed, although you don’t need to hire an expensive attorney, it is strongly recommended that some professional help is obtained. For the most part, the forms and process are quite complex for the average person. A People’s Choice has extensive experience in the legal field preparing conservatorship documentation for people who want to represent themselves in this complex, but routine legal process.

First, you must complete the following forms to establish a limited conservatorship for developmentally disabled individuals:

  1. GC-310  Petition for Appointment of Probate Conservator
  2. GC-020  Notice of Hearing
  3. GC-312  Confidential Supplemental Information
  4. GC-320  Citation for Conservatorship
  5. GC-348  Duties of Conservator
  6. GC-314  Confidential Conservator Screening
  7. GC-340  Order Appointing Conservator
  8. GC-350  Letters of Conservatorship

In addition to these standard forms, many courts also require other local forms based on their court’s Local Rules. 

Secondly, if the proposed conservatee cannot afford to pay court fees, the following additional forms will be required:

  1. FW-001  Request to Waive Court Fees
  2. FW-003  Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

Lastly, if you need an emergency hearing to establish a limited conservatorship, you will also need to complete the additional temporary conservatorship request forms:

  1. GC-110  Petition for Appointment of Temporary Conservator
  2. GC-140  Order Appointing Temporary Conservator
  3. GC-150  Letters of Temporary Conservatorship

Serving the Conservatee and Interested Parties

Filing the initiating conservatorship forms is just a starting point in the conservatorship process. Aside from filing the Petition, there is much more that is required in order for the court to grant an Order on Limited Conservatorship for developmentally disabled individuals. First, once the forms have been filed, the clerk will provide the proposed conservator with a hearing date. Next, all forms filed with the court will then need to be copied and served on the court investigation unit and immediate family members of the proposed conservatee, including their spouse. The conservatee will also need to be properly served. Lastly, Letters of Capacity may be required by a physician.

As a rule, the proposed conservator will have to attend a class and provide proof of attendance to the court prior to the scheduled hearing. In the meantime, the court will also appoint an attorney for the proposed conservatee. The investigator’s role is to find out if a conservatorship is appropriate and file a report accordingly.

The Hearing on Limited Conservatorship

At the hearing, the proposed conservatee must be present unless his/her doctor provides a written declaration that the conservatee is not able to attend. Of course, if everything is in order the judge will grant the petition for conservatorship for the developmentally disabled conservatee. Keep in mind, however, if something is missing in the petition, the petition may be denied or the hearing continued. Lastly, if the proposed conservatee or any interested parties object to the petition, the judge will order a trial be held.

After the hearing, the Order Appointing Conservator and  Letters of Conservatorship must be completed and stamped by the clerk. The clerk will keep one set and return one to the Petitioner. Essentially, the limited conservatorship for developmentally disabled individuals will last for the lifetime of the conservatee or conservator or until the conservatorship has been terminated by the court.

Contact A People’s Choice for more information about how we can help you draft the legal documents you need to petition for a limited conservatorship of your loved one.

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