Conservatorship Attorney Referral Service
What is a Conservatorship?
A conservatorship is when a judge appoints a responsible person or entity to care for another adult who cannot care for him or herself, or manage his or her own affairs. The entity appointed to care for the adult is the conservator, and the adult being cared for is the conservatee.
There are two types of conservatorships: probate, which has two under categories to it, and a Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) conservatorship.
A probate conservatorship has two categories:
- General: This is used for adults who cannot take care of themselves or their own finances. This is often used for elderly people or younger individuals who have been seriously impaired.
- Limited: This is for adults with developmental disabilities who cannot fully care for themselves or their finances. Conservatees in this conservatorship do not need a higher level of care like those conservatees in a general conservatorship.
An LPS conservatorship is used to care for those who have serious mental health illnesses and need special care. Adults who need the following are good candidates for an LPS conservatorship:
- Very restrictive living arrangements;
- And extensive mental health treatment
Within the probate conservatorship, there are also two other distinctions:
- A conservator of the person, who is the individual who cares for and protects a person when the judge decides a person cannot do so for themselves. This conservator would be responsible for ensuring the conservatee has proper food, shelter, health care, and clothing. Additionally, the conservator may be called upon to make important medical choices for the conservatee.
- A conservator of the estate, which is an individual or entity that handles the conservatee’s finances. This includes paying bills and collecting income.
- A conservator of the person does not mean that they are automatically the conservator of the estate. To be both, one must submit a petition.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a document that allows a person to appoint someone else to represent them. It can go into effect immediately, or it can go into effect when one loses the ability to make financial decisions.
A Power of Attorney will allow the appointed individual to do the following:
- Pay bills
- Buy or sell property
- File tax returns
- Make bank deposits, withdrawals, or other transactions
- Trade securities
Why would I need a Conservatorship or Power of Attorney lawyer? What is the benefit?
When someone becomes incapacitated, whether by death, mental illness, or severe injury, a Conservatorship and a Power of Attorney will ensure that there are individuals named and trusted who can make decisions for the incapacitated individual.
If you become unable to manage your affairs, and you fail to have a conservator or a power of attorney, your estate can fall into shambles. You can go into debt, have creditors calling to collect payment, and have no one able to make medical decisions for you.
This may lead to a lot of litigation in the courts which is costly and time-consuming – time that you and your loved ones may not have.
An estate planning attorney will help you plan for your future and ensure that these disputes and confusions do not happen in the event that you become unable to manage your affairs and make decisions for yourself. A Conservatorship or Power of Attorney lawyer will know the ins and outs of the law, be able to explain all the options and consequences, and ensure that the best possible choices are made for the well-being of you and your family. Contact us at 818-340-4529.