In California, if an adult cannot care for their physical or financial needs, a court can formally appoint another person to make decisions on their behalf. The designated individual (conservator) will be under a legal obligation to perform specific tasks to assist the impaired person (conservatee) with their needs. When a conservator is responsible for making decisions about a conservatee’s physical needs, they will make choices about issues such as the conservatee’s transportation, medical care, and living situation. When the conservator manages the conservatee’s financial interest, they will do things like safeguard investments and pay bills on their behalf. In either case, when you or a loved one has a conservator, they must perform all of the duties of their position. If a conservator cannot or will not do what is needed for the conservatorship, you will need to know: What can I do to remove a conservator?
One important distinction is whether the conservator is of the estate or of the person. A conservator of the estate is responsible for protecting the conservatee’s finances and financial interests. A conservator of the person looks out for the individual’s physical well-being by ensuring they are clothed, fed, have proper medical care, transportation, and a place to live. A conservator’s responsibilities differ somewhat according to their role.
The first issue to consider about removing a California conservator is whether you have a good reason under the law. California law provides a list of specific reasons that a court may remove a conservator. Many of the reasons for removal have to do with a conservator not complying with the court’s requirements or their duties under the law.
For instance, one reason for removal is a conservator’s “failure to use ordinary care and diligence in the management of the estate.” Another is for not being accountable to the court by failing to file a required inventory or another mandated estate summary.
Conservators can also be removed because of their own incapacity to perform the duties required of them. This may be because of something, such as a health condition. If a conservator is convicted of a felony before or after their appointment, this may also be grounds for removal. “Gross immorality” is also considered a reason for removal under the law.
When a conservator has a conflict of interest or has declared bankruptcy, the court may also consider removing them from their position. If a conservator of the person consents to certain mental health treatment or medical procedures for the conservatee, the court can also remove the conservator from their role. The probate court can also remove a conservator if it determines that removal is in the conservatee’s best interest.
The conservatee, their spouse or domestic partner, or pretty much anyone in the conservatee’s life who is concerned may petition the court to remove the conservator. It will not be enough to just ask for the conservator to be removed, however. The petitioner will need to state facts that support the request.
After the petition is filed, the conservator and all interested parties will be given notice of a hearing where the court will hear evidence on the issue. If the court finds the conservator should be removed, it will order the removal, and a replacement conservator will most likely be appointed during the same proceeding.
If you are concerned that your loved one’s conservator is not performing their duties, it’s essential to act as quickly as possible. You should contact a California conservatorship attorney to discuss your case. Your attorney can help you review your options and make sure that the right information is presented to the court to protect your loved one’s interests.
At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we are conservatorship attorneys with the experience you need to protect your loved one. We can help you evaluate your circumstances and determine the best solutions for you and your family. Please contact us online or by phone to schedule an appointment today.