A conservator is a responsible person appointed by the court to take care of another adult, the conservatee, who is unable to care for themselves or make their own financial decisions. California law controls who can be a conservator and under what circumstances the court will find an adult needs a conservatorship.
California law allows a person or agency to petition for a conservatorship if they can show their relationship with the proposed conservatee and support their petition with evidence. The court’s order of preference is:
The proposed conservatee can express his or her own wishes as to who the conservator should be. Ultimately, the court will make its decision, after considering all evidence, based on which person or entity it determines will be in the best interest of the conservatee.
The person petitioning for conservatorship must provide specific personal information about themselves, such as whether they have ever filed for bankruptcy or have any criminal history. They must also notify all relatives of the proposed conservatee that they are petitioning for conservatorship.
The petitioner may also provide confidential information about why there is a need for a conservatorship, including specific incidents involving the proposed conservatee indicating the need for the conservatorship.
After the petition is filed, but before the court makes a decision, the court appoints a neutral investigator who is required to interview the proposed conservatee and his or her relatives.
There are many duties required of the investigator, one of which is interviewing the proposed conservatee, explaining to them what is happening and how conservatorship will impact their life. The investigator must also explain to the proposed conservatee what his or her legal rights are.
After completing a thorough investigation, the investigator prepares a confidential report which must be given to all parties and their attorneys. The report is also filed with the court and includes the investigator’s recommendations about whether the conservatorship petition should be granted.
If you are considering filing for a conservatorship over a loved one, contact the Law Office of Charles D. Stark. He has more than 40 years of experience assisting clients who have made this difficult decision concerning a loved one. Phone consultations are available. Call him at 707.527.9900 and learn how this Sonoma County lawyer can help.