Hinojosa & Forer , LLP assists families facing the permanent or temporary incapacity of a loved one through conservatorship establishment and administration. Our attorneys understand that it is difficult for many of our clients to come to terms with the fact that a loved one can no longer make decisions regarding his or her care or manage his or her finances. We strive to help our clients through this time of personal crisis by skillfully guiding them through the process of establishing and administering a conservatorship.
When a person becomes incapacitated because of an accident, illness or disease such as dementia, or for any other reason, they may be in need of a conservatorship. In California, a conservatorship is a court proceeding where a judge determines that a person (the "conservatee") in unable to care for his or her personal well-being or finances. When this occurs, the judge will appoint a conservator to handle the conservatee's care or finances, or both. There are two types of conservatorships in California:
Conservatorships of the Person
A conservator of the person is appointed to manage the conservatee's physical well-being and needs, including food, clothing, personal care, housekeeping, transportation, recreation, and health care.
Conservatorships of the Estate
A conservator of the estate is in charge of the conservatee's finances. The conservator must inventory and invest the conservatee's assets, ensure that bills and taxes are paid, ensure that the conservatee's financial needs are met, and keep accurate financial records.
General, Limited & Temporary Conservatorships
Conservatorships may be general, limited, or temporary in nature. A general conservatorship usually applies to an adult who is unable to manage their care or finances on their own due to some type of severe mental and/or physical impairment caused by an accident, illness, disease, or other factor. However, in some cases, a limited or temporary conservatorship may be more appropriate.
A limited conservatorship usually applies to adults who can manage their daily care, but who need help with some tasks or managing some financial aspects of their estate. However, they do not need the extensive level of assistance provided by a general conservatorship. For example, people with epilepsy or cerebral palsy may be able to handle many daily tasks on their own, but they may require some help managing finances or completing other tasks, such as taking care of household chores or driving to the grocery store.
A temporary conservatorship may be required when a person needs immediate assistance without delay. In such a case, a judge generally appoints the temporary conservator for a set period of time, at which point a permanent conservator can be appointed to care for the conservatee. A temporary conservator has all the duties of a permanent conservator, but is only required to care for the conservatee for a limited time, as determined by the court.
Planning for Incapacity
In many cases, we can help families and individuals avoid conservatorships and allow them to plan their own future care and financial management should they become incapacitated. A conservatorship may be avoided by creating the appropriate estate planning documents, including trusts, durable powers of attorney, and advance health care directives. For more information on planning for incapacity, please see our estate planning page.
Helping Families through Difficult Situations
The attorneys at Hinojosa & Forer , LLP understand the difficulties presented by the incapacity of a loved one and can help you through this trying time. Contact Hinojosa & Forer LLP to schedule a consultation with an experienced California conservatorship attorney.