Family member generally don’t know the right time to file for a conservatorship

Do you have a family member who is incapacitated and have you thought about filing a conservatorship? How do I know if It is the right time to file an application for a Conservatorship?  We take steps every day to help protect and assist our friends and family members, and look for ways to avoid conservatorships.  These measures can range from a simple phone call to providing daily transportation to medical appointments or errands to our elder parents and disabled loved ones.  In some unfortunate circumstances, this type of informal help may not be enough.

A conservatorship is a legal tool you can use to help people who will not accept informal help, or cannot protect themselves from their circumstances or from others who want to take advantage of the.   When you apply for a conservatorship in court, the order of the conservatorship court lets you formally take over the financial or daily affairs of your friend or family member who is no longer able to care for him or herself.

Becoming a conservator requires serious thought and a whole lot of pre-planning.  It is a serious responsibility, as the conservator will be responsible for the conservatee with some supervision by the probate court.

Remember what a power of attorney does?  Well, a conservator does all that an agent under a power of attorney does, plus more, all under the view of the court.   The conservatorship takes away the informality of a power of attorney and makes the conservator report to court for his or her actions.

When you have a young adult who has turned 18, or above, and who cannot make medication decisions, or manage his or her life, a limited conservatorship may be useful.  A limited conservatorship is generally favored by the court, as they will be narrowly tailored to provide as little restriction as possible for the conservatee.    There are usually limited powers.  One thing that a limited conservatorship and a probate conservatorship cannot do for people under 65, is to administer psychotropic medicatin against the conservatee’s wishes.  That is reserved for LPS conservatorships.

A general conservatorship is a higher level of protection and typically provides that the conservator is responsible for all aspects of the conservatee’s physical and financial care.  In cases of older adults, over 65, the conservator may ask for dementia medication orders, and even secured perimeter orders to protect the elder adult.   It is important to keep in mind when it is appropriate to ask for a conservatorship.

The essence of a conservatorship is that the potential conservatee is unable to care for him or herself properly.  Occasional errors are not good cause for conservatorships. This does not include when you simply disagree with a person’s life choices, such as when your college aged child is taking out too many student loans or your sibling is accruing too much credit card debt.  Rather, for a conservatorship to be appropriate, the conservatee must be unable to make his or her own informed life decisions.

One of the most common situations where a conservatorship is appropriate is where an aging relative has dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.  As these illnesses progress, it can become difficult for a person to maintain appropriate day-to-day care, household maintenance, or timely paying of bills, just to name a few complications.  If your loved one is no longer able to adequately look after his or her daily needs, it may be time to talk to an attorney about getting a conservatorship for your relative.

Another common reason to request a conservatorship is when a close family member suffers a traumatic accident or injury, or illness which renders him or her unable to attend to daily needs.  Car accidents, strokes, or other injuries resulting in catastrophic brain injury can mean that you need to request a conservatorship over your loved one.

The most important inquiry is whether your friend or family member is capable of looking after his or her daily needs and affairs.  If he or she is not able to do so, a conservatorship may be appropriate. We have experience in assisting our clients with conservatorships.  Contact us at 818.340.4479 or email us at info@sirkinlaw.com today for an appointment.

Are you confused about whether you should file a conservatorship for a family member?  We help resolve problems and clear confusion about conservatorships in Los Angeles California.

Talk to us about factors to consider when you think about a conservatorship.  We can help with conservatorships in Los Angeles.