A conservatorship begins when a family member, close friend or even public official files a petition in court showing why someone would need a conservator. The court appoints a conservator based on the nominated party in the petition, giving them the legal capacity to manage the affairs of an adult. After appointment, this adult is now what we refer to as the conservatee.
Typically, conservatorships are awarded in California when the adult in question is above 75 years old and their age has significantly impacted their mental and physical state. However, not all adults need to reach seventy-five before requiring conservatorship.
When should I file a petition for conservatorship?
There are different types of conservatorships. The difference lies in the extensiveness of the authority of the conservator. The main goal of all of them is to have someone protect the physical, financial, mental, and or emotional interests of the conservatee.
You may need to file for a conservatorship when any of the circumstances below has occurred:
- If someone you know has suffered a stroke
- If someone you know is in a coma
- If a person has a serious substance abuse problem
- If the person is a danger to themselves
- If the person is mentally incapacitated due to psychological or physical reasons
- A doctor diagnosed someone you know with dementia or Alzheimer’s
- If someone you know has suffered a severe brain injury
The court usually appoints the spouse or a close family member as the conservator, but other parties are also eligible after thorough investigation.
Protect your loved one at all costs
Accepting the role of the conservator is a challenging task. You would also be taking full responsibility over another individual’s entire life and estate, so there may be people who will contest your authority. You would need to annually update the court with financial reports and medical records to ensure the conservatee is safe from fraud and abuse. You loved them at their best; now you can protect them when they need you the most.