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Los Angeles Conservatorship Attorney

In the United States, legal adults have the right to manage their own financial, legal, medical, and personal affairs, unless there is a court order stating otherwise.  When a person is unable to properly manage their affairs due to injury or illness, a court can appoint a person to make decisions on behalf of the infirmed individual.  There are different terms for this legal arrangement in different states.  In California, the term “guardianship” always refers to the guardianship of a minor.  When a person is appointed to handle the affairs of another adult, it is known as “conservatorship.”

If you have a loved one who is currently unable or likely to soon be unable to take care of their own financial, medical, or legal matters because of age, illness, or injury, you may want to consider appointing a conservator to manage their affairs.  The California conservatorship legal team at Blasser Law understands the delicate nature of these situations.  We are prepared to help you evaluate the need for a conservatorship, determine the appropriate type of conservatorship, identify the party best suited for the responsibility, and walk you through the steps necessary to ensure the conservatorship is properly established.  Let us work with you to ensure that your loved ones are properly cared for and your family protected during this difficult time.

Types of Conservatorships

Conservatorships are not one-size-fits-all.  They can and should be tailored to the specific capacity and needs of the conservatee.  There are a few general types of conservatorships available under the California Probate Code.  The types of conservatorships available under California law include:

General Conservatorship.  General conservatorships are intended to provide comprehensive coverage for adults who are generally unable to take care of themselves or their finances.  Most commonly, general conservatorships are used to care for elderly individuals who lack the mental or physical capacity to make decisions on their own behalf.  General conservatorships may also be used for younger individuals who have suffered a severe illness or injury, such as a traumatic brain injury in a car crash, and are unable to care for themselves.

Limited Conservatorship.  Limited conservatorships are appropriate where individuals have some capacity to manage their affairs but require additional help to properly manage their finances and care for themselves.  A limited conservatorship may be appropriate when an individual, for example, has a developmental disability such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy, severe autism, or mental retardation.  The powers of the conservator should reflect the needs of the conservatee so as to allow the conservatee to live as independently as possible. 

LPS Conservatorship.  A mental health or LPS conservatorship (named after the Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act of 1967) is a conservatorship specifically designed to assist individuals with mental health difficulties.  An LPS conservatorship gives the conservator responsibility for overseeing the comprehensive medical treatment for an individual with a severe mental health issue.  They are meant to be used for individuals who need extensive medical health treatment and restrictive living situations (such as living in locked facilities and/or powerful drug treatments).  LPS conservatorships must be initiated by local government agencies and will likely be implemented without the consent of the conservatee.

If a conservatorship is needed immediately, the court may choose to appoint a temporary conservator until a full evaluation is made and a general conservator can be appointed.

Appointing a Conservator

Conservatorships must be established through formal legal proceedings.  A conservator will file a petition for conservatorship with the court, which must include all relevant information about the proposed conservatee as well as an explanation as to why the conservatorship is necessary.  Typically, a family member will be appointed as the conservator.  Where no family is available, appropriate, or willing, the court may appoint a government agency or individual representative thereof to serve as the conservator.

The party must file certain forms to support the petition, including a supplemental information form, a conservatorship screening form, and a duties of conservator form.  These forms will explain why a conservatorship is necessary, explain the relationship of the proposed conservator to the conservatee, establish why the conservator is qualified to handle the responsibility, and lay out what the conservator will be doing for the conservatee.  A non-party must serve notice on the conservatee and their relatives in order to give them the opportunity to contest the conservatorship.

Typically, the court will set a hearing 45-60 days after the petition is filed.  In an emergency, the court can conduct a hearing as soon as five days after the petition in order to appoint a temporary conservator before a permanent conservator can be properly appointed.  To ensure that you follow all appropriate legal processes in requesting and securing a conservatorship for your loved one, speak with a qualified and professional southern California conservatorship attorney.

Understanding and Professional Estate Planning Attorneys for Conservatorships and More in Claremont and Los Angeles County

Get help choosing, establishing, and managing legal conservatorships to ensure the welfare of yourself and your loved ones in California by contacting a compassionate, knowledgeable, and effective Claremont conservatorship lawyer at Blasser Law at 877-927-2181.

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