Conservatorship – What is It

Similar to how it’s hard for parents to see their child grow up into an adult, it can also be pretty difficult for an adult to watch their parents grow old. It could be a grandparent or parent’s memory slipping which leads to confusion. It’s also possible that they could have sustained an injury or sickness that had a significant impact on them that would have been nothing if it had struck them when they were younger. Regardless, if you or somebody you care deeply about suffers from a condition that affects their mental faculties or movements, or they just cannot perform their everyday tasks like they used to, it’s probably best for you to consider opting for a conservatorship.

What’s a conservatorship and how can it help my loved ones?
A conservatorship is for the elderly, what guardianship is to children. It is when the court determines an individual, known as a conservatee, to be physically unsuited to take care of their finances and, or themselves. Since they are incapable of sound judgment, the judge will allow a conservator to make do these for the conservatee. A conservator is usually an adult child of the conservatee, but a trusted friend or a different family member can also be a conservator.

In order to set up a conservatorship over an individual, the court must decide that the proposed individual is significantly unable to provide their own shelter, clothing, or food. The petition needed to make a conservatorship is commonly filed by a family member or loved one who can testify or see the individual’s inability to perform basic tasks and provide their personal needs. In California for example, the Public Guardian’s office can file the petition when there isn’t a family member or interested individual available to provide assistance

Conservatorship over an individual should only occur when there are no good alternatives available. Often times, a senior undoubtedly need aid but will not accept any form of help, wanting to do everything themselves as they used to when younger. Their deteriorating mental state can inhibit them from accepting the need and they will just refuse any form of outside help.

The Types of Conservatorship
There are two types of conservatorship namely: conservatorship of the estate and the conservatorship of the person. The latter case involves the conservator watching over the infirm conservatee. They help around with everyday tasks around the house such as cleaning, clothing, and cooking. They can also help in arranging healthcare, transport, and other tasks. A conservator of the estate involves the conservator managing the financial side of things and makes sure that all the bills and taxes are being paid properly and promptly. Their tasks include managing and investing the conservatee’s assets, accounting and reporting financial planning, and accounting of all the conservatee’s assets.

A Conservatorship sounds great. How do I get one?
There is a law that obligates a potential conservator to find an attorney to ensure they go through the entire process properly. The conservator can be held liable in the event of something happening to the conservatee and or their assets. An attorney will help prevent any financial misdeeds and the protection of the conservator.

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