A conservatorship is a court process to appoint a legal guardian for an adult who cannot care for themselves. Modernly, one famous example is the conservatorship of Britney Spears by her father. This court-mandated arrangement lasted for more than a decade.
While the Spears case may be the most popularized, it is more common for an adult to need a conservatorship due to dementia, mental illness, developmental disabilities, or an injury or condition that limits an individual’s decision-making abilities. The conservator maintains legal authority over care aspects of the conservatee’s life.
When a probate conservatorship gets established, the court appoints a conservator to be responsible for the adult conservatee. The court typically chooses a family member as conservator, but may choose a neutral third party like a friend, bank, or California licensed professional fiduciary when a family member is not available or to avoid family conflict.
When a judge determines that a person (known as the “conservatee”) cannot care for themselves, a conservator of the individual provides care and protection.
In the event that the court determines that the conservatee is incapable of handling their financial affairs, such as paying their bills and collecting their income, a conservator of the estate is appointed.
A limited conservatorship can be requested for an adult with a developmental disability (autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, intellectual disability, or a similar condition) and who receives services from one of California’s regional centers. In most cases when there’s a developmentally disabled adult involved, the court structures the conservatorship to provide as much independence as possible.
Often, the parents of a developmentally delayed adult serve as conservators, although siblings and other family members can also serve.
For most adults with no income other than public benefits, a conservatorship of the person is allowed. A conservatorship of the estate is used where the disabled adult receives outside assets, like inheritance or lawsuit proceeds.
For Conservatorships or Conservatorships of the Estate, you will need legal representation. Contact Keyes Law Group, PC to learn how we can help. We offer free 30-minute consultations, please call, we’d love to help.