If you have an adult child with special needs, you no doubt worry what will happen when you are no longer here to care for him or her. This is especially true if your child requires constant care and supervision. You may have a conservatorship in place that allows you to manage your child’s affairs and make decisions for him or her, but what happens when you die?

It is perfectly normal to have concerns about what happens when you die with your special needs adult child. You may wonder if you can appoint a conservator to step in upon your death. However, according to the Superior Court of California, appointment of a conservator is something only the court may do.

Any person who wishes to step in as your child’s conservator will have to go through all the proper legal channels. This means filing the right paperwork and going into court. A judge must appoint the person. You cannot do it through your will or other estate plan documents.

You can put other safeguards in place, such as a trust, to protect your child’s finances. You can appoint a trustee to manage the trust. However, when it comes to making decisions for and about your child’s care, that will require a conservator that the court appoints.

This area of law can be complex, so it is a good idea to discuss any concerns about your child’s care after your death with your attorney. You may have some options that can help put your mind at ease. This information is for education and is not legal advice.