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Temporary vs. Permanent Conservatorships

Bochnewich Law Offices Dec. 19, 2023

According to The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) in 2021, 1.3 million adults were living under guardianship or conservatorship. Dealing with the reality of a loved one who can no longer care for themselves can be an emotionally-challenging journey. We understand how overwhelming and confusing it can be to make decisions that will significantly impact their lives. It's natural to feel a sense of uncertainty, especially when it comes to legal matters such as conservatorships.

We're here to help. At Bochnewich Law Offices, we’re more than just a law firm. We're a team of dedicated professionals committed to providing reliable guidance, unwavering support, and compassionate service to our clients. Serving Southern California, including Riverside County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Orange County, and San Diego County, we're your trusted partner in navigating the intricacies of conservatorships. 

Understanding Conservatorships

Conservatorships are legal arrangements where a court-appointed individual, referred to as the conservator, makes vital decisions for someone unable to do so themselves. This setup is typically necessary when an adult can't take care of their needs due to physical or mental limitations. The conservator ensures the incapacitated person's everyday needs, like personal care, living arrangements, and financial management, are met. 

Temporary vs. Permanent Conservatorships

There are two types of conservatorship: temporary and permanent. Temporary conservatorships address immediate needs. They're granted in emergency situations when the individual's health or safety is at risk. These are valid for a limited time, allowing the court to assess the situation and decide the best course of action. 

On the other hand, permanent conservatorships, also known as general conservatorships, cater to individuals deemed permanently incapacitated. They provide long-term care and support, with the conservator responsible for managing the person's personal and financial affairs indefinitely. 

Establishing a Conservatorship: The Process

The process of establishing a conservatorship requires careful planning, documentation, and legal guidance. Here's what the process typically involves: 

  • Filing a Petition: The process begins with filing a petition for conservatorship in the appropriate court. This document outlines the reasons why a conservatorship is necessary and identifies the proposed conservator. 

  • Medical Evaluation: A detailed medical evaluation of the incapacitated person is often required to substantiate the claims made in the petition. This assessment establishes the individual's mental and physical condition and their ability to manage personal affairs. 

  • Notice to Interested Parties: Once the petition is filed, all interested parties, including family members, must be notified. They have the right to object to the conservatorship or the choice of the conservator. 

  • Court Investigation: A court investigator reviews the case to ensure a conservatorship is in the individual's best interest. They interview all parties involved and submit a report to the court. 

  • Court Hearing: A court hearing is held to review the evidence and hear any objections. The judge then decides whether to grant the conservatorship and who should serve as the conservator. 

  • Letters of Conservatorship: If the conservatorship is granted, the court issues Letters of Conservatorship. This document gives the conservator legal authority to act on behalf of the incapacitated person. 

Remember, each conservatorship case is unique and may involve additional steps or requirements. It's crucial to have an experienced attorney guide you through this process.  

Factors Considered by the Court

The court considers several factors when deciding on a conservatorship. These include the individual's decision-making capacity, the availability of less restrictive alternatives, and the proposed conservator's qualifications. The primary concern is always the well-being and best interests of the incapacitated person. Providing compelling evidence and a strong testimony is vital in supporting the need for a conservatorship. 

Alternatives to Conservatorships

Sometimes, conservatorships may not be the best solution. Alternatives like power of attorney, advanced healthcare directives, and living trusts allow individuals to appoint someone they trust to make decisions on their behalf without court intervention. Consulting with an attorney is essential to determine the most suitable option based on the individual's circumstances. 

Seeking Legal Assistance 

Establishing a conservatorship can be complex and difficult. At Bochnewich Law Offices, our team of attorneys is dedicated to providing comprehensive legal support to individuals and families facing these tough decisions. We understand the importance of protecting our clients' rights and well-being. With our attention to detail and vast knowledge, we aim to create a solid plan that safeguards their legacy, preserves their wealth, and brings peace of mind. 

At Bochnewich Law Offices, we're committed to providing compassionate and reliable support to our Southern California clients. Whether you're considering a temporary or permanent conservatorship, our team is here to help you navigate the legal process to seek the best possible outcome for your loved ones. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us put our knowledge to work for you. We're more than just attorneys; we're advocates committed to safeguarding your loved ones' well-being and future.