Not all adults are capable of caring for themselves and making the decisions that affect their health and finances, among other aspects of their lives. Whether due to age, an illness or an injury, it may become necessary to establish a conservatorship in order to care for such a loved one.
The state of California recognizes that not all situations are created equal and therefore, established two different types of conservatorships for particular circumstances. Of course, most of these arrangements fall into the same category, but the law does make room for those that don't.
The less often used conservatorship
The state reserves a Lanterman-Petris-Short conservatorship for an adult with serious mental health issues. These individuals often require powerful medications to control their behavior and must live in locked facilities. Most often, the court orders an LPS conservatorship when the individual, or conservatee, refuses to seek the appropriate care on his or her own.
The most often used conservatorship
The most commonly used type of conservatorship falls under the state's probate code, which is why the law refers to them as probate conservatorships. The two subcategories include the following:
- Adults with developmental disabilities often need some assistance handling their financial and health care matters through a limited conservatorship. They may be able to handle certain aspects of their lives, but need help with others.
- Adults who cannot handle their financial or health care matters on their own may require a general conservatorship. Most often, these conservatees are elderly family members or family members with severe injuries suffered in an accident such as a car crash.
Since it does take some time for the court to establish a permanent general or limited conservatorship, it may be possible to obtain a temporary one in order to deal with the conservatee's immediate needs. If the court appoints you as a temporary conservator, you will mainly be responsible for protecting the conservatee's property and finances, along with making sure the conservatee receives the appropriate protection, support and care during permanent conservatorship proceedings.
Depending on the circumstances, the court may appoint you as a conservator of the person, a conservator of the estate or both. In order to make the appropriate requests of the court to protect your loved one, it may be beneficial to discuss the matter with an attorney before heading to court.