As we discussed recently in this blog, a conservatorship is a legal way for one person to gain decision-making power over some or all aspects of a loved one’s life. When someone seeks conservatorship over an adult, it is usually because the adult has a disability, condition or chronic illness that makes it impossible for them to handle their daily needs.
Besides conservatorships, powers of attorney and guardianships can also help a family member unable to handle life decisions. Guardianships generally involve minor children whose parents are unable or unavailable to raise them. Powers of attorney must be arranged for by the person while they are still of sound mind. In many cases, that leaves conservatorship as the best remaining option.
The advantages of a conservatorship
After reading our overview of conservatorships, you may be curious about what the advantages of this type of arrangement are. For one thing, because a judge must approve and supervise a conservatorship, the conservatee has a great deal of protection. Having a neutral outside party act as a conservator can be a good solution when family members do not agree on what to do about a parent who has become incompetent.
In many cases, a person who needs help with handling their finances and healthcare decisions is reluctant to accept that assistance. Getting conservatorship is a legal process that gives each side the chance to present their case before a judge. The judge can also tailor the conservatorship so that it gives the conservator power over only those things the conservatee can no longer do for themselves. Other things, such as the right to vote, can be left in the conservatee’s power, if appropriate.
Witnessing the mental decline of a parent, spouse or other loved one is never easy. But there are steps you can take to ensure your family member will continue to live in comfort and dignity.