In California, when an adult cannot adequately attend to their physical or financial needs, a probate court can appoint a legal conservator to make decisions on their behalf. The conservator will have specific duties under the law and will be granted the necessary authority to complete the conservatorship’s tasks. When someone has control over choices related to another person’s well-being, health, or finances, they bear significant responsibility. If you or your loved one are involved in a conservatorship, it’s essential to know: What are the powers of a California conservator?
A conservatorship may be limited or general. In both general and limited conservatorships, the conservator must communicate with the court and look out for the conservatee’s best interests. General conservatorships are for those who are no longer able to care for themselves or their finances. These conservatorships tend to be broader because the conservatee’s needs are greater. Limited conservatorships are used for developmentally disabled adults. Limited conservatorships may not be as restrictive as general conservatorships.
Conservatorship of the Person and Conservatorship of the Estate
In California, a person may be appointed as a conservator of the person or a conservator of the estate. The same conservator can be appointed to serve in both types of conservatorships.
- Conservator of the Person
- A conservator of the person is responsible for making sure that the conservatee has a suitable place to live, proper nutrition and medical care, transportation, clothing, and that their recreational needs are met.
- Powers of the Conservator of the Person
A conservator of the person will have the power to determine where the conservatee lives within the state. If the conservator wanted to move the conservatee out of state, they would have to ask the court for permission.Under the law, “if the conservatee has been adjudicated to lack the capacity to make health care decisions, the conservator has the exclusive authority to make health care decisions for the conservatee that the conservator in good faith based on medical advice determines to be necessary.” The conservator must make health care decisions for the conservatee per the conservatee’s “individual health care instructions and other wishes to the extent known to the conservator.”The conservator of the person can make other choices on behalf of the conservatee to fulfill their duties. However, in general, most major changes and decisions will have to be presented to the court for approval.
- Conservator of the Estate
- A conservator of the estate is responsible for managing and protecting the conservatee’s financial interests. These duties include paying their bills, receiving income, conducting an inventory of the conservatee’s assets and liabilities, creating a budget, and safeguarding investments and assets.
- Powers of the Conservator of the Estate
The conservator of the estate is charged with taking care of several financial tasks and will have the power to access the conservatee’s accounts and make investment and other decisions regarding their funds. However, the conservator will have to ask the court for permission to engage in significant transactions, such as buying or selling real property or borrowing money. The court will also review the conservator’s activities when they file reports and appear for routine proceedings.
Contact a California Conservatorship Attorney
The conservator will have to exercise some powers during the conservatorship to fulfill their duties. If you or your loved one is involved in a conservatorship, it’s essential to understand what the conservator can and cannot do during the case. Contact an experienced California conservatorship attorney today.
At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we are experienced California conservatorship attorneys who can help you evaluate your situation and determine the best solutions. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.