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What to know about a conservatorship

If an individual were to become incapacitated, another person may be appointed to manage that person’s affairs. This person is typically referred to a conservator, and a California judge will help to ensure that he or she is acting in an incapacitated adult’s best interest. If a child needs supervision, the individual appointed to provide it is often referred to as a guardian.

The process of establishing a conservatorship

First, a parent, friend or other concerned party will file a petition with a local court asking to establish a conservatorship. The petition will explain why the individual in question needs assistance managing his or her own affairs. An investigation will begin to determine whether any claims made in the petition are valid, and a hearing will be held to review any evidence that the investigator obtains.

Generally speaking, the person named in the petition must attend the hearing, and that person’s friends and family members are allowed to testify on his or her behalf. After reviewing the evidence, the judge will determine if a conservatorship is needed and the extent of a conservator’s powers.

The potential downfalls of a conservatorship

Typically, conservatorship hearings are a matter of public record. This means anyone could potentially find out that an individual is under the care of a conservator and the extent of his or her incapacitation. Furthermore, the person who is placed under the supervision of a conservator is required to pay that individual an hourly wage.

Control your own destiny with estate plan documents

It may be possible to name your own agent or caregiver with a power of attorney form or a revocable living trust. These documents will typically be honored, assuming that they were created while you were still of sound mind.

If you believe that a parent or other relative needs extra supervision, it may be a good idea to ask for a conservatorship. An attorney may be able to help you obtain the evidence needed to convince a judge that this true.

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