For many in Woodland Hills, their greatest fear may be having to be placed under the care of another. Second to that may be the concern that if they do become incapable of caring for themselves, that the person assigned as their guardian or conservator is selected solely at the discretion of the court. While it is true that California law does state that the court does have the ultimate authority to determine who should be the conservator of a person and his or her estate, it does also make room for special considerations to be given to a conservatee and his or her family.
Section 1810 of the state's Probate Code says that if a proposed conservatee does have the capacity to recommend who he or she would like to serve as conservator, the court will honor that request unless evidence exists that suggests appointing the designated person to the role would not be in the conservatee's best interests. The spouse (or domestic partner), parent, adult child or sibling of a conservatee may also request who should be appointed as conservator.
The Probate Code also establishes an order of preference that the court follows when appointing a conservator. It goes as follows:
- A spouse or domestic partner
- An adult child
- A parent
- A sibling
The order in which requests for consideration of appointment of a conservator by a party also follows that same sequence.
According to the California Professional Fiduciaries Bureau, one appointed as the conservator for a family member does not need to become a licensed professional fiduciary while fulfilling that role. Only one who acts as conservator for two or more people who are unrelated to both each other and the conservator must meet that requirement.