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.
It can be a great act of kindness when a person serves as a conservator for an elderly loved one, making important financial decisions for a person who no longer has the capacity to make these decision. However, California law gives conservators a lot of power over another person, and the potential for abuse is serious. The courts must be sure the conservator is acting in the elderly person's best interest.
Ordinarily, California's conservatorship law comes up in the context of an elderly person who needs help with financial matters and other important decisions. Over the past decade or so, the most famous example of a conservatorship has been very different.
A new bill was passed by the California legislature, and it affects California's homeless and mentally ill. Many of these people consist of the elderly population, but they can be of any age. Formerly known as SB1045, the law would permit Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco counties to opt into a five-year pilot program expanding the existing conservatorship rules to include people with both mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Some are in favor of the law, while others claim it is a violation of civil rights.
When it comes to the ability to care for oneself, it's a multi-faceted issue. Those in California who have suffered a health issue may no longer be able to care for themselves or their estate in the way they once could. The body fails all of us, so conservatorships can be set up to help care for loved ones and to ensure that an estate is properly managed. Dealing with a loved one's new "normal" can be jarring at first, but if organized properly, it can be manageable by those around them.
There is nothing you wouldn't do for your loved ones. That's why when looking into how to make their transition from child to adult easier, you don't hesitate to look at all the options. If you have a child or loved one who is disabled in some way, you may be wondering what their path may look like as they move into adulthood. If they are semi-self-sufficient, you may be looking at a way to allow them to be more independent.
Families in California considering a conservatorship for an elderly loved one may have many questions. It is important that they understand the basics of conservatorship, so they can make informed choices. A probate conservatorship is a court case during which a judge appoints a party as conservator. A conservator can be either an individual or an organization who is appointed to manage the finances of an individual that no longer possesses the capacity to do so for themselves.