The document called a nomination of conservatorship allows an individual (also known as the principal or conservatee) to dictate who they want to look after them and their assets if they become incapacitated. This person is called a conservator or guardian, and that role carries enormous legal responsibilities in the state of California.
Whether you suffer catastrophic injuries in a severe car wreck or survive a debilitating stroke, your nomination of conservatorship will give authority to one single individual to make important decisions for you, or for an incapacitated loved one. The conservator who you pick in your nomination of conservatorship document will be able to manage your life and assets just as you would. If you need help with establishing a conservatorship in Los Angeles, our skilled estate planning team at The Law Offices of David A. Shapiro, P.C. would be happy to assist you.
For more information about conservatorship, give us a call today at (310) 853-1554 for a free evaluation.
Types of Conservators in California
In California, there are two main types of conservatorship. The first is known as a general conservatorship, which allows the conservator to manage both an estate and the person who owns it. The second is a limited conservatorship, which only applies to the individual person. When nominating a conservator, you will most likely need to designate someone who could easily take on both roles for you: Many elderly adults lose the ability to manage their own finances, and may need a general conservator at some point. It’s also a good idea to designate a backup in the event of your conservator’s death or incapacitation.
In some cases, you may also need a Lanterman-Petris-Short or LPS conservatorship. This unique form of conservatorship can only be established once an adult becomes “gravely disabled,” as defined under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act. This can include drug addictions and alcoholism as well as severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia.
Responsibilities of a Conservator in California
No matter what circumstances ultimately lead to your conservatorship, it’s important that you name a trustworthy individual who can act in your place. A conservator plays a crucial role in your estate plan, and will have the power to make lifestyle choices and financial decisions for the incapacitated adult in question. By creating a nomination of conservatorship document in advance, you may be able to keep a degree of control over your estate, your health, and your future, even after you become mentally or physically incapacitated.
Appointing a Conservator
Under federal law, the probate courts have broad power to elect conservators or guardians for incapacitated individuals, and can even assign entire state agencies if needed. While family members and close associates can come forward to nominate a conservator for an individual, however, the judge will be looking first to see if the adult is truly incapacitated, and will take the conservatees’ existing estate plan into consideration. The judge must also deem the proposed conservator – be it a spouse, a family member, a professional conservator, or a neighbor – to be a competent and responsible adult.
While incapacitated adults are still entitled to representation, the best way to prepare yourself for probate proceedings is to create an effective trust document long before you ever become incapacitated. At the Law Offices of David A. Shapiro, P.C., our experienced trust attorney is always prepared to offer you the advice and answers you need. We understand that it can be difficult and uncomfortable to think about your own incapacitation, but through a nomination of conservatorship, you may be able to find peace of mind for the future.
Ready to discuss your estate plan with a seasoned attorney? Contact our Los Angeles law firm today!
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