As your parents age, you may notice changes in things such as their energy levels, reaction time when they drive, and memory. While some observations may not be concerning, there could be more severe signs of physical or mental impairment that cause you to worry about their safety. Intervening when your older parents need care is something that usually gets more difficult to do the longer you wait. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help protect your parents and get them the assistance they need today.
If your parents’ conditions have advanced to the point that you have reason to believe that they can no longer care for their basic physical needs or finances, you may need to ask for legal intervention.
California law provides that when a concerned loved one believes another adult is impaired, he or she can ask, or petition, the probate court to appoint a conservator to make choices for them. When an adult has a conservator, he or she has another adult making decisions about certain aspects of their lives under the supervision of the probate court. The appointment or “conservatorship” gives the conservator the ability to step into the impaired individual’s shoes legally.
The conservatorship petition would explain the reasons that the requesting party believes the conservatorship is necessary. The petition usually includes detailed information about the individual, his or her medical treatment history, reasons why less-restrictive means cannot be used, and other relevant information.
The probate court will assign an investigator to interview the individual and others regarding the person’s condition. Once the investigation is completed, the court will hold a hearing to determine if the individual needs representation. Then, there will be a hearing on the conservatorship. If the conservatorship is granted, the court will appoint the conservator, and the designated person will be trained, meet with the investigator, and regularly report to the court regarding the conservatee’s condition.
If your parents are no longer able to attend to their physical well-being or financial interests, a conservatorship may be the best option. However, depending on the situation, there may be less-restrictive measures available. If you are concerned about an aging parent, it would be best to meet with an experienced elder and conservatorship attorney to assess your case and review your options.
At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we are California elder and conservatorship attorneys, with the experience you need to help you determine the best ways to support your aging parents. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.