Conservatorships can be critical instruments that allow someone to make decisions on behalf of a vulnerable adult who cannot make them by himself or herself.

However, conservatorship disputes can arise for various reasons. And when they do, they have the potential to become contentious.

Reasons a person might challenge appointments

Disagreement on the need for a conservatorship is one primary reason why someone might challenge an appointment. A person’s incapacity may not necessarily be obvious, and evaluations regarding mental capacity do not always come to the same conclusions.

Allegations of financial abuse by the conservator could also spark legal contests. If a conservator is mismanaging an incapacitated person’s finances or engaging in financial abuse, concerned family members could request a new appointment.

Contesting the conservatorship

If you do not believe a person should serve as a conservator, you have a couple of options. You could object to the appointment or file your own application for conservatorship. This can prevent an untrustworthy person from serving in such a crucial capacity. You could also submit evidence that supports a claim stating there is no need for the courts to appoint anyone as a conservator.

If conflicts arise after this point, concerned parties can file a request to terminate, replace or suspend the conservatorship.

Preparing for the fallout

Unfortunately, in a case involving challenges to a conservatorship, there is the potential for some painful arguments among loved ones.

For instance, former San Francisco Giants player Orlando Cepeda is in the middle of a bitter legal battle involving conservatorship. Cepeda reportedly claims he does not require a conservator. He and his wife are battling over two of their sons as well as a daughter-in-law they claim is abusing her role as the current conservator. Reports suggest there has been devastating emotional and financial fallout.

One way to minimize the potential for arguments is to discuss conservatorship before it becomes necessary. A person can specify who he or she would want to be in charge of financial, medical or personal decisions if he or she becomes incapacitated. Parties can also work with attorneys to pursue swift, peaceful resolutions.