What Is Conservatorship?

Hi there, Miranda Dressler here. Associate attorney with the Law Offices of Bridget Mackay in Petaluma, California. And today I’m going to talk to you about what happens if either you or a loved one become incapacitated and you don’t have any written estate planning documents like a trust or power of attorney.

If you become incapacitated, which means that you’re no longer able to handle your personal and financial affairs. Then someone is going to need to step in to handle those things for you, meaning financial decisions and or health decisions. If you, if that happens to you and you become incapacitated without any written documents then in order for somebody to step in for you to make those decisions, a court process is going to be required and it’s called a conservatorship.

So, conservatorship is just a court process where the court appoints somebody to step into the shoes of the person who is incapacitated. So, that person has authorization to handle the incapacitated person’s affairs; either financially, healthwise for both. And any time a court process is required, it’s going to be expensive and it’s going to be time consuming.

And so generally what conservatorship will look like is the incapacitated person will be brought into court and pronounced incompetent to handle their own affairs. And then the person seeking to step into the incapacitated person’s shoes will then have to divulge all of the personal and financial information of the incapacitated person to the court. And then get appointed as that person’s conservator. However, the court will ultimately be the one who is in control.

So, the appointed conservator will have to account to the court for every transaction and every decision that is made on behalf of the incapacitated person. And the court will be monitoring everything that that person does for as long as a conservatorship lasts to make sure that the appointed conservator is acting for the best interests of the incapacitated person.

If you have any other questions on this topic or any others, please contact a qualified estate planning attorney in your area. Thank you.


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