A conservatorship proceeding is for adults who have lost the capacity to manage their affairs. There are two ways a person can be conserved. The first way one can be conserved is if they become substantially unable to manage their finances or resist fraud or undue influence. A conservator of the estate is appointed for one that has become substantially unable to manage their finances or resist fraud or undue influence. This typically occurs when an elderly person begins to suffer from dementia or alzheimers. Additionally, a conservator of the estate can be appointed for an individual who has suffered from an injury (such as a traumatic brain injury) that prevents one from managing their finances.
The second way one can be conserved is if they are not properly able to care for their food, shelter or clothing. A conservator of the person is appointed when one cannot properly care for their food, shelter or clothing. As people age and/or become severely injured they might not be able to independently bathe themselves, cloth themselves, cook for themselves, transport themselves or perform as simple as a task as cleaning their residence.
There are three types of conservatorship. The first type of conservatorship is known as a General Conservatorship. A General Conservatorship is implemented when one, generally an elderly person suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, becomes unable to manage their own affairs such as paying their own bills or managing their own investments. Additionally, one might not have the ability to perform their basic activities of daily living. General Conservatorships are also for those individuals that have suffered a severe accident such as a traumatic brain injury.
The second type of conservatorship is known as a Limited Conservatorship. Limited Conservatorships are for those individuals that are developmentally disabled. A developmental disability refers to a disability that a person was born with as opposed to having developed during life. Typically those that are placed under a Limited Conservatorship are afforded more freedoms than those placed under a General Conservator.
The third type of conservatorship is known as a conservatorship that is established under the Lanterman Petris Short act also known as a “LPS” Conservatorship. An LPS Conservatorship is for those that suffer from mental illness and are considered gravely disabled. A LPS Conservatorship is typically implemented by a doctor after a person has been placed on an involuntary hold in a county approved facility.
Often times there are disputes over who the conservator should be and/or whether a conservatorship is even needed. If a dispute does arise those disputes must be litigated and a Judge must make a decision.