Conservatorships are established by court order when an adult cannot care for himself or herself, generally due to a decline in mental function. In states other than California, these proceedings are often called Adult Guardianships. A conservator of the person may be appointed if the elder’s decline results in an inability to provide for food, clothing and shelter, or to make reasoned medical decisions. A conservator of the estate may be appointed if the decline impacts the elder’s ability to manage finances, or resist fraud or undue influence.
Obtaining a conservatorship appointment is a complex process. Because it is often a long term appointment, the court has specific rules that a conservator must follow throughout.
At Poling & Poling we have the experience to provide you the necessary guidance, from the initial appointment through the many subsequent legal requirements. In many cases, attorney fees and other costs can be paid from the conservatee’s estate, after an appropriate court order, thus sparing the family the burden of the expense.
Most often a family member serves as the conservator, but sometimes it is appropriate for a Private Professional Fiduciary to assist, especially in difficult or contested proceedings. Poling & Poling can advise you regarding all your options, and can even help guide you when selecting a professional conservator.
In many cases, a conservatorship proceeding can be avoided entirely through the use of appropriate alternatives – sometimes called “conservatorship substitutes.” One of our experienced attorneys can give you the guidance necessary to locate these alternatives and use them to the greatest advantage.