Is it Time for a Conservatorship for Your Aging Mom or Dad?

We hope the holidays were full of good cheer for you and your family. Seeing loved ones far and wide is one of the best parts of the season. The holidays can sometimes reveal, though, that elderly family members are not as mentally sharp as they used to be.

This can certainly be an uncomfortable revelation for Californians; our team certainly understands how emotional it can be to start thinking about estate and elder law planning. However, the earlier you start that conversation, the better.

What is a Conservatorship?

A key piece of your elderly parent’s estate plan might be a conservatorship, which is a legal arrangement naming a competent adult to help another adult handle certain affairs. There are two types of conservatorships in California for elderly people: 

  • Conservatorship of the person: A conservator of the person is tasked with making decisions related to the conservatee’s medical, housing, nutritional, transportation, and clothing needs.
  • Conservatorship of the estate: A conservator of the estate helps handle the conservatee’s financial obligations and needs. The conservator might pay bills, prepare tax returns, or manage investments on behalf of the conservatee.

Depending on the needs of your parent, one person could act as conservatorship of the person and estate. Or, you may nominate multiple conservators to serve discrete roles.

Probate vs. Limited Conservatorships

You might read something about a limited conservatorship if you search online about California conservatorships. Limited conservatorships are tailored to the needs of adults living with developmental disabilities. Conservatorships for elderly people and those with declining mental faculties are called probate or general conservatorships. Those two types of conservatorships convey broad powers in comparison to a limited conservatorship.

Probate Conservatorship vs. Power of Attorney

Another estate planning document that allows someone to act on behalf of another adult is a power of attorney. Many people use power-of-attorney arrangements to allow someone else to make certain financial and medical decisions on their behalf.

One of the main differences between a conservatorship and power of attorney is that a conservatorship is usually granted after the conservatee has lost mental capacity. After receiving a petition for a conservatorship, the court will usually send a representative to investigate the prospective conservatee’s capacity and need for a conservatorship.

We Can Help You Get it Right

Appointing a conservator and receiving the necessary court authorization can be a long and arduous process in California. Choosing the right conservator can also be difficult. However, your loved ones deserve the best arrangement possible, and we are here to help make that happen. 

Hedtke Law Group understands how hard the process can be on the entire family, and our team does everything possible to make things easy for our clients. We’d be happy to speak with you about your options.