Tips to Avoiding the Burden and Expense of a Conservatorship

A conservatorship is an ongoing legal matter where a judge appoints a person (the “conservator”) to oversee the care of another (the “conservatee”) when it has been determined that the conserved person is unable to care for his or her health or financial condition.

There are two primary types of conservatorships: (1) a conservatorship of the person and (2) a conservatorship of the estate. A conservatorship of the person focuses on the conservatee’s ability to make decisions relating to personal matters of basic need including physical health, diet, clothing and shelter. A conservatorship of the estate focuses on the conservatee’s ability to manage his or her own finances. A conservator will often be appointed for both types of affairs. However, this is not required.

Conservatorships are time-consuming and expensive. A convservator has significant responsibility, including diligent recordkeeping of all actions taken as conservator. The court will review the matter on an ongoing basis, requiring the services of a court investigator to perform interviews, court filings and hearings, wherein the conservator requests the review and approval of accountings and attorney’s fees.

Oftentimes, parties prefer to avoid the burdens of conservatorships and this may be possible with proper estate planning. If the cause of the conservatorship is not a lifelong disorder and the conserved party had capacity and the ability to care for him- or herself prior to a life event that removed this capacity, the conservatorhip may have been avoided by the execution of powers of attorney. Medical and financial powers of attorney allow a person to name another to make healthcare and property decisions on their behalf, therfore eliminating the need for the person to be appointed as conservator.

Proper estate planning has numerous benefits and can avoid unforeseen problems and expense in the future. Getting planning documents in place is a gift not only to oneself but also to one’s loved ones who may need to care for a person in the future. For more information on the creation of an estate plan, please contact your local Estate Planning Attorneys at Chauvel & Glatt. 

The material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute, legal advice or promise similar outcomes. For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-881-3021. (Photo Credit 123rf.com).

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