When you have a loved one who is either aging and unable to properly take care of him or herself or is experiencing mental illness that prevents him or her from handling daily needs, you likely want to do whatever you can to help. But many times, it is difficult because as an adult, your loved one has specific rights.
The only way to supersede those rights is to seek a conservatorship. The California Courts explain only certain people have the right to seek a conservatorship for someone else.
In some cases, the person under the conservatorship, the conservatee, can make his or her wishes known about who can serve as the conservator. This occurs when the person still has the mental ability to make decisions and give his or her opinion. In this case, the court will listen to the conservatee and will appoint the person they request as the conservator.
When the conservatee is not able to give his or her request for a conservator, the court will look to immediate family first. Ideally, the person’s spouse or partner will be the first choice, followed by an adult child, parent or sibling. After that, the court has some leeway to choose anyone who is legally able to serve in this capacity.
However, if the spouse or someone closely related to the person does not want to serve, that person can nominate someone else, and the court will consider that request.
The main goal is for the conservator to be someone who will look out for the best interest of the conservatee.