The Who, What, Where, When, and Why of California Conservatorships

Conservatorships have a bad name. People often think of Britney Spears’ conservatorship and the #FreeBritney movement because, well, that’s the only real-life example most people have been exposed to.

In reality, conservatorships serve an important role under the right circumstances. It’s important to separate Hollywood gossip from the real world California families live in.

What is a Conservatorship?

A conservator is a court-appointed title given to an individual who manages the financial and personal affairs of another individual. The conservator oversees an individual adult who is incapacitated, or an adult with limited capacity. This includes individuals with developmental disabilities who need the guidance of someone else.

There are two main types of conservatorships in California – general and limited. In a general conservatorship, the conservator is given full power and responsibility as defined by the court order to manage the lifestyle of the conservatee. In a limited conservatorship, the conservator receives a specific selection of powers and responsibilities to care for the conservatee.

Who Can Serve as a Conservator?

Conservators can be just about any adult as long as the adult is considered to have the capacity to handle the role according to the court. These are often family members but can also be legal professionals such as a professional fiduciary.

Someone who has an understanding of the needs of the conservatee and who is accessible will be your best choice. As we noted in a previous blog about trustees in your estate plan, we don’t just advocate for having a plan; we advocate for picking the right individuals to serve the right roles. These are important choices that should not be taken for granted.

Where, When, and Why a Conservatorship is Necessary

For general conservatorships, the conservator operates whenever needed to help the conservatee manage decisions like finances, health, and other important personal matters. Courts decide whether the conservator manages the estate (financial matters), the person (health and safety), or both.

In a limited conservatorship, the courts issue up to seven specific powers to the conservator. Those powers are:

  1. Maintaining the conservatee’s home
  2. Accessing and keeping confidential records and personal information
  3. Providing medical consent on behalf of the conservatee
  4. Overseeing the conservatee’s social, romantic, and sexual relationships
  5. Consenting (or declining to consent) to the conservatee’s marriage
  6. Educational decision making
  7. Overseeing the conservatee’s ability to enter into contracts

The court orders each of these powers individually in a limited conservatorship in California meaning any combination of that list can be assigned to a conservator.

At The Law Offices of Tyler Q. Dahl, we understand the importance of these court orders despite what public perception may be. People of California need help and there are people out there who are best equipped to provide that help. Contact our team if you believe you or a loved one is in need of a conservatorship and we will work directly with you to find the right person for the role.

The following two tabs change content below.

Dahl Law Group

At Dahl Law Group, we’re not just a law firm. We’re your trusted advisor for your business and family from beginning to end. As your family and business grow, we will be there by your side. Our passion is providing you with peace of mind and protection through personalized estate and business planning.