What Is A Conservator? – Guide To Conservatorship In California

A conservator in California is a person or persons appointed by the court to manage and arrange the financial affairs and/or daily needs of another due to mental limitations, physical limitations or old age.

What Is The Difference Between A Power Of Attorney And A Conservator?

A power of attorney is a very specific document and is limited to the specific terms of that individual power of attorney. A conservatorship is much more comprehensive and flexible. It is the best way to provide for long-term conditions and changing needs. It also includes court oversight of the conservator’s actions.

Is A Guardian The Same As A Conservator In Estate Planning?

A guardian is a different concept. In California, a guardian is appointed for the needs of a minor while a conservator is appointed for the needs of an adult.

How Is It Determined Whether Someone Needs To Have A Conservator or Not?

There are two different branches of conservatorship. There is conservator of a person and conservatorship of the estate. For a person, the court must determine that the individual is unable to provide properly for his or her physical needs, including health, food, clothing and shelter. For conservatorship of the estate, a court has to determine that the subject person is substantially unable to manage his or her own financial resources or is unable to resist fraud or undue influence.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of A Conservatorship?

The pros are that a conservatorship provides the greatest flexibility in being able to manage the changing needs of the subject person, arranging long term care, housing and being able to contract with providers as needed. As for the cons, conservatorships are time-consuming and expensive. They require filing, attorneys’ and investigator fees, as well as regular and ongoing court oversight. Also, court proceedings are public record, which can create privacy issues. Additionally, continued assistance of counsel is required. For a conservatorship of the estate, detailed record-keeping and documentation are necessary. This can also result in liability issues for the conservator. The court may also require a bond for the conservator.

Can The Same Person Be Both A Guardian And A Conservator?

No. These are really different concepts. Since a guardian is only appointed for a minor and a conservator is appointed for an adult, the same person cannot act as a guardian and a conservator for the same person at the same time. It is possible for a guardian to become appointed conservator when the subject person reaches the age of majority.

Is A Conservator Needed If Someone Already Has A Durable Power of Attorney?

That would depend on the durable power of attorney and how well it has anticipated the changing needs of the subject person. A conservator is generally needed when dealing with long-term conditions of the subject person.

What Is The Court Process That Is Involved In Setting Up A Conservator?

You have to apply to the court for a hearing, and the judge is required to make certain that all the proper parties have been provided proper notice of the process and ample time to object. Then the court must make a determination whether the conservatorship or guardianship is necessary to protect the interests of the subject person. The proper amount or level of power is granted to the conservator or guardian based on the needs of the subject person.

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