Ultimate Guide to Conservatorships – What You Should Know!

How to Find the Right Conservatorship Attorney

What to expect when working with Hess-Verdon.

Your Orange County Conservatorship Attorneys

 

Do you need information on Conservatorship?

Hess-Verdon attorneys have your answers. Learn the steps involved and the ongoing documentation required to sustain the Conservatorship?

Please note, it is necessary to receive counsel from a conservatorship attorney (Conservatorship Lawfirm). A Conservatorship Attorney will guide you through the bonding requirements, litany of conservatorships fiduciary duties, etc.

Let’s start at the basics and move up from there!

What is Conservatorship

When a family member can no longer manage their affairs, many times, its an older adult, who has physical or mental limitations, i.e., psychotic, suicidal, dementia, etc., are under a court-ordered conservatorship. The older adult must have their financial affairs managed because they are unable to make proper decisions on behalf of themselves. The legal responsibilities are given by the courts (court-ordered authority) via the recommendation of a qualified physician or psychiatrist. 

How to be a Conservator

Now, various people may want to petition for a conservatorship, and in California, the list can be as follows:

  • A Private Professional Fiduciary
  • The spouse of the proposed conservatee
  • A relative of the proposed conservatee
  • An interested friend of the proposed conservatee
  • A proposed conservatee

And each possible conservatorship person or group is responsible for preparing an annual report based on the actions taken on the ward’s (protected person’s) behalf. The report will cover the ward’s assets, what has been bought, sold, invested, and expenditures. In addition to financial reporting, there should be a plan detailing the medical treatment and personal care the incapacitated ward has received in the previous year. 

 

Here is a partial list of fiduciary duties:

  1. Accounting: Complete financial records
  2. Taxes: Required to file any tax returns
  3. Trust Asset Management and Growth: Keep the estate’s assets invested. (Prudent Investor rule).
  4. Distributions to the ward (protected person): Distributions for the care of the ward and to any third party who provides any beneficial service.

So a word of caution is that everything you need to know about being a conservator should come from an experienced estate planning attorney (conservatorship attorney) given the complexity and severe risks of harm to the protected person. 

How to Determine Compensation for Conservators

In California probate code section 2640-2647, it states that the compensation must be just and reasonable to the Conservator of the estate for services rendered. 

 

What is the Conservator pay based upon? The Conservator is reimbursed for expenses and paid for their services from the assets of the conservatee. 

 

Conservatorship vs. the POA (Power of Attorney) (California)

What is right for your family’s current situation? Conservatorship vs. power of attorney.

Well, both give authority to a conservator or agent to assist in managing the welfare of the person who requires assistance. Both are legal documents, yet the Power of Attorney breaks down into four types of a POA, and Conservatorship has its standards as well.

 

Let’s review.

 

Here are the four types of POA 

  1. General Power of Attorney: With the general power of attorney, the agent can perform almost any activities such as financial and business transactions, buying and settling insurance claims, gifting, employing professional help, and more. 
  2. Durable Power of Attorney: Allows you to assign someone (an agent) to manage finances. The durable power can be general or limited in scope and remain in effect if you become incapacitated.
  3. Special or Limited Power of Attorney: The special power of attorney is designed to exercise special powers to an agent. Many times, this option is for specific affairs that may be construed as self-dealing, such as selling property, collecting debts, etc. So to keep on the right side of the courts, the option of limiting powers may be necessary.
  4. Springing Durable Power of Attorney: Similar to a durable power of attorney, a springing power of attorney will not become effective until you are incapacitated. 

 

Each of the four types of POA gives your attorney-in-fact (the person who will be making decisions on your behalf) a different level of control. 

Here are the types of Conservatorships

  1. Probate Conservatorship / General Conservatorship – families use the general Conservatorship when an adult, typically, can no longer manage themselves or their finances. 
  2. Limited Conservatorship: For the developmentally disabled.
  1. Conservatorship of estate
  2. conservatorship of the person
  • LPS (Lantern-Petris-Short Act) Conservatorship (Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 5000 et seq): The LPS statutes and regulations can get complicated. The LPS Act sought to “end the inappropriate, indefinite, and involuntary commitment of persons with mental health disorders.” 
  • Each of the above types of Conservatorship should be thoroughly reviewed with counsel to ensure for the long term of the protected person, and their rights are protected.

     

    Ending a Conservatorship

    The responsibility of the Conservator must act until the court issues an order ending this responsibility. Why will the Conservatorship stop? Here are a few reasons:

    • The conservatee dies
    • The conservatee is no longer in need of this level of assistance
    • The conservatee’s assets are used up.
    • The Conservator resigns or dies and no longer able to manage the responsibilities. In this case, however, it does not end, but someone else can take over the Conservator’s duties.

     

    So as an overview, Conservatorships affect mainly older people, and especially adults older than 85 years old. The fastest-growing age group in the United States is the one over 85 years of age. It is also estimated that between 2030 and 2040, the first baby boomers reach 85 years of age.

     

    Why Choose Us?

    What Does a Hess-Verdon Lawyer do?

    Protect Your Rights! For over 30 years, our experience in estate planning, Conservatorship counsel, Litigation allows us to gear up more quickly and handle your case more efficiently. You receive answers to substantive law questions and recommendations with less research time.

    Our firm can make a difference for you and your family members!

    We efficiently and economically work to secure a results-driven outcome!

    Hess-Verdon & Associates is one of the most reliable and most sophisticated law firms — experienced in the state of California at both the trial and appellate levels. Our law firm has spent years acquiring extensive experience in trial preparation, strategy, and trial presentation to help you with your specific case.

     

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