What is a California Conservatorship?
The court appoints a Conservator to handle the financial and/or personal affairs of the conservatee. (Only the County can obtain an LPS Conservatorship to confine a person to the state hospital.)
Conservator of the Person vs. Conservator of the Estate
A Conservator of the Person is appointed to make decisions about personal matters for the conservatee, such as where to live and day to day matters.
A Conservator of the Estate handles financial matters and pays bills. The conservator must seek court supervision for major transactions, such as the purchase or sale of real property, borrowing money, and gifting of assets and all matters are subject to court review.
A conservatee can have different people as the conservator of person and estate or one person can serve in both functions. Some conservatees may have only a conservator of the person, or only a conservator of the estate.
Advantages of a Conservatorship
A conservatorship offers protection against abuse of the conservatee. Records must be maintained and everything reported. A conservatorship is helpful for managing an incapacitated person’s affairs when no other structure is in place, especially when that person is reluctant to accept assistance.
Disadvantages of a Conservatorship
The court involvement is both by court personnel as well as court hearings with extra time required by everyone. This involves large costs in conservator’s fees attorney’s fees, filing fees, and investigator’s fees. The proceeding is public, so everything is of public record. The conservator must continually return to court for approval of certain transactions, which require hearings and additional fees and can create delays in completing the transactions. Another important disadvantage is the potential for a massive loss of individual rights by the conservatee.
Summary: A conservatorship is a very expensive & intrusive way to handle personal and financial matters. It is to be avoided if you can and most times a living trust can be the most helpful thing you can have.