When is a Conservatorship Needed?

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There are various types of conservatorships, all of which are based on the needs of the conservatee. Probate conservatorships are based on the laws outlined in the California Probate Code; the most common types of probate conservatorships include general conservatorships and limited conservatorships.

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What Are the Different Types of Conservatorships?

General conservatorships are for adults who cannot take care of themselves or their finances. Such conservatees are generally elderly people, but they can also be younger people who have become seriously impaired as a result of something such as a car accident.

Limited conservatorships are for adults with developmental disabilities who are unable to fully care for themselves or their finances. Conservatees in limited conservatorships do not require the same level of care or help as conservatees in general conservatorships.

If circumstances warrant the need for an immediate conservatorship, the court may appoint a temporary conservator until a general conservator has been appointed. A temporary conservator is basically responsible for arranging for the temporary care, protection, and support of the conservatee, and protecting the conservatee's assets and property. 

How Do I Get a Conservatorship in California?

Conservatorships are required in the state of California when an adult is unable to handle their medical or financial matters or is otherwise unable take care of themselves. While guardianships pertain to the care of minors, conservatorships are used in all other situations. A conservator can be placed in charge of either dependent person's daily care or the care of their estate.

Conservators entrusted with caring for a dependent person are tasked with ensuring their physical needs are met, including providing shelter, food, clothing, transportation, medical care, personal care, and social interactions. Conservators who are placed in charge of a person's estate are entrusted to handle a dependent person's finances and use these funds for their care. In certain circumstances, conservators may be tasked with handling a dependent's business on their behalf, including making sure all taxes and bills are paid, making proper investments, keeping records, and protecting assets.

Conservators may or may not be permitted to do both and are given this power by the courts on a case-by-case basis. Conservators are not automatically given control of a dependent person's estate and must petition with the court if they wish to be granted this authority.

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