As you may be aware, the legal system is full of intricacies and jargon that make things nearly impossible for the general public to decipher. To add on to this, the terminology can widely vary between states. For instance, in California, a protective proceeding for an adult is referred to as a conservatorship while a protective proceeding for a minor is referred to as a guardianship. In other states, a protective proceeding for an adult is referred to as a guardianship, but not in California.
Aside from the confusing terminology used in the legal sphere, legal proceedings, in and of themselves, can feel nearly impossible to navigate. This tends to heap even more stress on individuals already under some kind of strain. For instance, if you have an adult loved one who is struggling to manage their own affairs, you may realize it is time a conservatorship is established for the impaired individual. Establishing a conservatorship can empower a court-appointed conservator to help an impaired individual manage everything from their financial affairs to their medical affairs. It may feel unmanageable to try and navigate the legal process to set up a conservatorship and so here we will give you some of the basics to help you on your way.
How to Set Up a Conservatorship
Those seeking to have a conservatorship established start the process with the end goal being obtaining a judicial order appointing a conservator along with letters of conservatorship that will allow the appointed conservator to conduct affairs at places like the bank or medical facilities on behalf of the impaired individual. The first step to establishing a conservatorship is to file a Petition for Conservatorship with the court. A Confidential Supplemental Information Form must also be filed. These documents will include detailed information about the conservator, the conservatee, and why the conservatorship is necessary. The reason why other possible alternatives to a conservatorship would not work should also be included.
There are other forms that must be filed as well, including a Confidential Conservatorship Screening Form and a Duties of Conservator Form. The former is to be filled out by the prospective conservator and will ask about their relationship to the conservatee among other things. The latter details what type of affairs the conservator would be handling for the conservatee. Conservators can do anything from managing the conservatee’s care to maintaining finances.
The conservatee must be served notice of the conservatorship proceedings. The notice must be delivered by someone who is not a party in the conservatorship action. Notice must also be provided to the relatives of the conservatee. These notices can be sent via mail as long as they are sent by someone other than the petitioner, the person who initiated the conservatorship proceedings.
Any conservator appointed by the court will need to obtain a bond which is intended to protect the assets of the conservatee in the event that the conservator takes advantage of the position of power they have. This means it protects the conservatee’s assets in the event that the conservator engages in fraud, theft, or other forms of improper handling the conservatee’s assets. The bond amount will be determined by the judge. The judge uses the financial standing or estate value of the conservatee in setting the bond amount.