A conservatorship is a legal arrangement which allows a responsible adult to manage the personal care or financial matters of an impaired adult person.  The person who is unable to care for herself is referred to as the conservatee. The person who cares for the conservatee is called the conservator. A conservator can be a family member, friend, or business entity. California Probate Code outlines the requirements of who can serve as a conservator. A conservatorship in California must be established through a court proceeding. This article provides a general overview of the steps to obtain conservatorship in California.

There are two types of conservatorships in California: Limited Conservatorship and General Conservatorship. A limited conservatorship applies when a person is deemed to be mentally impaired. The powers of the conservator are limited to the area in which the conservatee may not be able to manage on her own. The court encourages limited conservatorships because it allows a person to maintain as much independence as possible. A general conservatorship provides a higher level of care to the conservatee. This type of conservatorship is best for a person who is unable to fully provide personal care for themselves or make financial decisions.

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Key Steps to Obtain Conservatorship in California

Setting up a conservatorship can be a daunting and tedious process. One of the first steps to obtain conservatorship in California is to complete and file a Petition for Conservatorship.  The petition documents are quite cumbersome and can be extremely confusing without professional help. The documents themselves cover information about the proposed conservator, conservatee, the conservatee’s immediate relatives, and the reasons why a conservatorship is necessary. The petition must also explain why the possible alternatives to a conservatorship are not available. The petition must be filed in the local court in which the proposed conservatee resides. Contact A People’s Choice for help preparing all the required paperwork to obtain your conservatorship in California.

Once the petition is filed, the court clerk will schedule a court date. As one of the steps to obtain conservatorship, the proposed conservatee must be served notice of the petition for conservatorship. The service must be completed by a neutral party who is at least 18-years-old or older. The proposed conservatee’s relatives must also be provided notice of the filed petition. A court appointed investigator will talk to the proposed conservatee and others to get more information about the conservatee’s condition.

The proposed conservatee must attend the hearing unless they do not have the capacity to attend. During the hearing, the judge will determine if all family members were properly notified. The judge may also appoint a lawyer to represent the proposed conservatee. The judge may grant or deny the conservatorship.

If the judge grants the conservatorship, an order appointing the conservator will be filed and Letters of Conservatorship will be issued. Review the  Handbook for Conservators for more information about the conservator’s role. Once Letters are issued, the proposed conservator can assume the powers authorized per the court order.

Contact A People’s Choice for more information about the steps to obtain conservatorship in California.

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