Senior citizens are the country's most vulnerable at-risk adults. As California residents grow older, they may no longer be able to manage their own affairs, due to cognitive diseases like Alzheimer's. When incapacitation robs someone of the ability to make important decision for him or herself, a conservator may be appointed for them.
A conservator is a person appointed by the court to manage an incapacitated individual's personal and financial affairs. This can range from overseeing finances to managing living arrangements and establishing physical care of the elderly patient.
In California, there are two types of conservatorships. LPS conservatorships are established by law and governed by the state's probate, welfare and institution codes. The law either in which the individual lives or in which it was established governs the second type, probate conservatorships. When the conservatorship is for individuals, mental capacity must be determined by a medical professional. Every step must be documented and verified.
Because a conservator has a great amount of power over another person's finances, courts want to be sure that the conservator is trustworthy. Courts check up on conservatorships at regular intervals to try to ensure the conservator is acting in the other person's best interests. Unfortunately, there are many cases where a conservator abuses the trust placed in them, exploiting the other person for their personal gain.
When executed well, a conservatorship can be a great help to vulnerable people. However, setting up a conservatorship is often a tedious, time-consuming process, especially for people who have never been through it before. An experienced attorney can help people set up conservatorships to care for their loved ones, and answer questions about making sure a conservatorship is acting as it should.