What is a conservatorship and who is it for?

Under California Probate Code, a conservatorship is a court proceeding whereby a person, called the conservator, is appointed for either a conservatorship over another person or a conservatorship of another person’s estate (property and assets).

It is important to note the difference between a conservatorship over a person versus a conservatorship over a person’s estate. Here is why.  California Probate Code generally states that a conservatorship of a person can occur when that person is unable to provide properly for his or her personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter. The same Probate Code also generally states that a conservatorship of a person’s estate can occur when that person is substantially unable to manage his or her own financial resources or resist fraud or undue influence.  Many people think that these two concepts always blend together and are just one concept; however, there are circumstances which require a conservatorship of just one but not the other.  So, just because a conservator is appointed for a person does not automatically mean that the conservator is also appointed for that person’s estate and vice versa.  Certainly, the Probate Code allows for a conservator to be appointed for both, as conservator for the person and that person’s estate.  But it is important to note the difference.

It is also possible to have a limited conservatorship (again, of either the person or the person’s estate or both).  Often a limited conservatorship will be used in a situation where there is a developmentally disabled adult but this is not the only situation which may require a limited conservatorship.  Another example of a need for a limited conservatorship is when the conservateee, the person in need of a conservator, has a valid and enforceable durable power of attorney but has not given the designated agent the power to carry out a certain act, such as sell the conservatee’s real property. In any case, conservatorships in California are complicated court proceedings with strict rules.  Anyone considering a conservatorship in California should contact the Chilina Law Firm or another California attorney who practices in the areas of estate planning and conservatorship for further information.

Authored by Greg Chilina and Co-Authored by Karen Chilina

Chilina Law Firm, a Professional Corporation, is a full-service estate planning, probate, trust administration, business law, and real property law firm that provides a wide-range of advising, transactional, and litigation services to its clients from its office located in Atascadero, California. The firm’s attorneys represent individuals and business entities in an assortment of transactional and litigation matters involving estate planning (including trusts, wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives), probate, trust administration, as well as general business law, contracts, corporate governance, land use, and real property. Chilina Law can be contacted by telephone at (805) 538-5038 or by email at info@chilinalaw.com or visit the Chilina Law Firm at www.chilinalaw.com. Chilina Law Firm is based in Atascadero, California and serves North San Luis Obispo County communities, including Santa Margarita, Atascadero, Templeton, Paso Robles, and San Miguel.

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