WHAT ARE SOME MAIN REASONS FOR A CONSERVATORSHIP?
A Conservatorship is a legal arrangement, whereas an individual or organization becomes the conservator of an individual who is called the conservatee, when they are appointed by a judge to protect and manage the personal care or finances – or both – of a person who is determined to be unable to manage their own affairs. There can be many reasons for a conservatorship, however many times it is because a person is elderly and sometimes younger who has a temporary or permanent mental or physical disability. Because of this a conservatee may no longer be able to care for themselves for such tasks as shopping and cooking for food, cleaning their home, managing their money and finances, and doing such daily hygiene tasks as bathing, dressing, and going to the bathroom. They also may be still living at their personal home and may not be able to drive for social activities or medical care.
EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CONSERVATOR OF THE PERSON AND A CONSERVATOR OF THE ESTATE
A conservator of the person is appointed by the court to help a person take care of their daily needs. A conservator of the estate is when you are appointed by the court to help manage a person’s finances. If a person needs help with both tasks, often a court will appoint one person to be both conservator of the person and conservator of the estate.
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND THE CONS TO A CONSERVATORSHIP?
Many times, a conservatorship may be unavoidable, however when one is appropriate, I believe the Pros and Cons have to do with how you are involved with the conservatorship.
It is usually best for family or friends to be the conservator if possible. This can be a Pro and cheaper route due to the cost of professional care and the California labor laws. The conservatee can still be living in their current home or stay at a home of a family member or friend. The Con is the conservator is essentially taking on a full-time job on top of their other family, social and career duties. They are usually not knowledgeable of all the financial and legal responsibilities and have to figure the process out and do on the job training.
If a conservatee does not have family and friends who are able to serve as a conservator, they can have a professional fiduciary appointed to be the conservator. This can be a Pro, since the professional fiduciary has previous knowledge and experience of the real-world tasks and legal obligations. You will have to pay a professional fiduciary and any staff that cares for the conservatee and that can be an expensive obligation that a conservatee and their estate may not be able to pay or sustain for a long period of time. The conservator would have to make sure the case is solvent, that any potential litigation is managed, have knowledge of all the current parties involved, and make sure that the conservatee is geographically close to visit in person.
Lastly, I see Pros and Cons for the conservatee. Some conservatees may prefer their family members and friends care for them. They usually know the person well and what things the conservatee likes to provide the best quality of life. If this is not possible, a conservatee will have to assimilate to their new life many times away from a home they have been living in for years and get to know and trust the people who are responsible for their finances and daily needs.
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS TO CONSERVATORSHIP?
The main two options for a conservatorship are probate conservatorships and Lanterman-Petris (LPS) conservatorship. Underneath the probate conservatiorships you must be appointed by the court for one of these three types: 1) General, 2) Limited, and 3) Temporary. Under an LPS conservatorship, it must be filed through a public Guardian and it must be renewed annually.
HOW CAN THESE OPTIONS FAIL?
Once you have been appointed to one of the above conservatorship options, a conservator will have many duties and responsibilities and must communicate with all parties in the conservatees life. The conservatee also still has many rights to make decisions in their life. Because of this, a conservatee or one of their family members or care providers can file a dispute against you if they feel you are not fulfilling your duties. They may ask for a care plan from you and a court investigator has the right to inspect facilities & ask to audit your oversight of the conservatee.
What Famous Performer and Singer is a Conservatee?
Britney’s father, Jamie Spears, has been in control of Britney Spears conservatorship ever since her 2007 mental breakdown. You can read more about this at:
For more information on conservatorships in the State of California, download the Handbook for Conservators – 2016 Revision:
Resources for Conservators can be found at the Professional Fiduciary Association of California (PFAC) website at:
PFAC has partnered with the California Judicial Council to help make the Conservatorship Handbook available. It provides step-by-step information and tools — including forms, worksheets, and sample letters — needed to successfully fulfill the role of conservator of a person or estate. Learn about the different types of conservatorships and the role of probate court. Many resources on where to find help are also included in this handy guidebook. Click on the link below access the Conservatorship Handbook online through the California Court, Judicial Branch of California. Handbook for Conservators If you would like a printed copy mailed to you, PFAC can provide one for $20, the same fee charged by the court. To order your handbooks, click on the order button.