What is a Conservatorship?
A conservatorship is given to a person to make decisions on behalf of a married minor or adult who can not manage their estate or make legal decisions on their own. A conservatorship may be granted over the person, estate, or both the person and estate. A conservatorship is similar to a guardianship because both have decision-making authority over a person. However, the process for becoming a conservator is different from that for becoming a guardian.
General vs. Limited Conservatorship
This article discusses primarily a general conservatorship. A limited conservatorship is primarily for developmentally disable people who can make some decisions on their own but sometimes need a conservator to make legal decisions for them. For more information on a limited conservatorship you can read our post titled “General vs. Limited Conservatorship”.
How do I Become a Conservator?
There are two ways to become a conservator. The first is to be nominated by the person needing assistance, also known as the conservatee. Usually, the conservatee nominates a relative, such as a spouse, parent, or sibling, through a document known as a durable power of attorney. The conservatee may also nominate a person by petitioning the court, but this is far less common. The court still needs to approve a conservatorship if nominated through a durable power of attorney, however, the durable power of attorney still provides certain legal authority to the conservator without being appointed a conservator.
The second way is to petition the court to become a conservator. To petition the court you must be either a spouse, domestic partner, parent, child, sibling, or friend of the proposed conservatee. Government agencies may also petition for conservatorship. To become a conservator of the estate, you need to show that the conservatee is unable to manage their financial resources or resist fraud or undue influence. To become a conservator of the person, you need to show that the conservatee is unable to provide for their physical needs such as health, food, clothing, or shelter. Additionally, the conservatorship must be the least restrictive alternative needed for the protection of the proposed conservatee. If you have a document, such as a durable power of attorney, you may not need to obtain a conservatorship. You may also petition for a conservatorship in unique circumstances such as a member of the armed forces who is missing in action, a missing person, or a person with dementia.
This all depends on your specific case and the situation your loved one is in. If you believe your loved one is putting themselves in danger and unable to take care of themselves or their finances, please do not hesitate to contact me at (310) 598-7191 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I am here to help you decide the best option moving forward based on your specific situation.