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Conservatorship – 6 of 6 (Special Issues)

Torrance Probate and Estate Planning Attorney

Conservatorship – 6 of 6 (Special Issues)

This is the sixth and final writing in a series regarding conservatorship court proceedings in California.

The writings so far have covered who might need a conservatorship court proceeding, the three types of conservatorships, the two aspects of each of them, some of the court procedures in general, the process of having the court put someone in charge of another person through a conservatorship court proceeding, and the responsibilities of the conservator.

Special Issues

The prior writings mentioned that the conservator needs to file a bond with a court. He also needs to file account petitions with the court for approval at the end of the first year and then every other year, if he is conservator of the estate with authority over assets and income.

Significantly, California law allows the court to waive the requirements of the bond and the periodic accounts. To do that the conservatee’s assets and income need to be sufficiently low, and all of the income needs to be spent for the conservatee, or held for her benefit. That is very helpful in some cases.

The conservator has legal authority to manage essentially all of the affairs of the conservatee. That said, he must obtain court approval prior to certain more significant actions.

Some of those more significant actions are

  • Selling the house of the conservatee;
  • Selling other assets of the conservatee that total more than a certain amount in value;
  • Signing a trust, will, or powers of attorney for the conservatee;
  • Transferring the conservatee’s assets to an existing trust, even if for the benefit of the conservatee;
  • Preventing someone from having contact with the conservatee; and
  • Paying fees to oneself or to his attorneys from the conservatee’s assets.

Before doing any of these things, the conservator first must obtain court approval.

Again, a conservatorship normally lasts for the remainder of the life of the conservatee. At the death of the conservatee, the conservator files a final account petition for court approval if it is a conservatorship of the estate and account petitions are not waived. Through that final account petition he asks the court to approve transferring legal ownership of the assets to others.

This concludes the six-part summary of the California conservatorship court proceeding process.