If your loved one can no longer make important decisions, someone must be appointed to look out for their best interests. In the event of an illness, a disabled person should create a power of attorney and name the person they intend to make their financial affairs and medical decisions.
However, if an incapacitated adult does not have a durable power of attorney, a court may create a conservatorship for them. A court might also appoint a suitable person to make an individual’s medical and financial decisions. Often, a family member concerned with a loved one’s well-being can petition the court to become a representative.
If you want to become a personal representative and have questions about how to care for an incapacitated relative, contact an Irvine conservatorship lawyer for answers. A seasoned trusts and estates attorney could offer you sound advice and help create a comprehensive plan to protect your loved one’s health.
What is a Conservatorship?
Unfortunately, the need for a conservatorship might be sudden. For example, a conservatorship could occur after a devastating accident that leaves someone in a coma. A durable power of attorney cannot be adopted once a person becomes incapacitated, so the court must create a conservatorship. If a conservatee (the adult who needs care) cannot manage daily living anymore, a conservator will assume the following roles:
- Arranging travel
- Overseeing in-home care
- Managing a conservatee’s investments
- Purchasing food and clothing for a conservatee
- Arranging physician and rehabilitative care appointments
- Ensuring a conservatee’s home is in good physical condition
- Paying recurring bills including rent or mortgage, utilities, credit cards
Conservators are fiduciaries, meaning they have a duty to look out for conservatees’ interests. For example, a representative must implement a care management plan and report to the court concerning the conservatee’s well-being while following the program.
In the 1970s, California enacted legislation establishing LPS conservatorships, named for the legislators who introduced it: Lanterman, Petris, and Short. An LPS conservatorship is an arrangement in which a conservator is responsible for managing comprehensive mental health treatment for a conservatee diagnosed with a severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia.
An experienced attorney can assist with the legal aspects of establishing a conservatorship in Irvine.
What Are the Benefits of Conservatorships?
Conservatorships solve the uncertainty of who handles the affairs of someone who can no longer support themselves. An older adult is sometimes a target for family members seeking money or nefarious strangers trying to scam them. However, a conservatorship can spare a person from family drama. Because a court supervises conservatorships, the best interests of conservatees are preserved.
Even if a person falls into a coma or suffers severe dementia, a court can establish a conservatorship to ensure they receive quality healthcare and financial decisions. Contact a California probate lawyer to discuss whether a conservatorship is appropriate for an ailing relative.
Setting Up a Conservatorship in Irvine
Creating a conservatorship may take months and involves several actions. A person must file a Petition for Conservatorship with the Superior Court of California. Once filed, a court can schedule a hearing and notify a conservatee’s relatives of the date.
After being granted the role, a conservator must submit a care plan and report annually to the court about the conservatee’s condition. Due to the complicated process, an attorney familiar with probate court should handle conservatorship proceedings.
A Conservatorship Attorney in Irvine Protects Your Loved One’s Interests
Although difficult to think about, it is possible for your loved one to become disabled or incapacitated suddenly. To protect their rights, it is best to draft a durable power of attorney and name a trusted person as your fiduciary for financial and healthcare decisions. However, many people fail to do so.
If a family member does not have a plan in place in the event they become incapacitated, the court can step in and grant a conservatorship to a responsible adult who will make decisions on their behalf. If your loved one cannot care for themselves due to illness, a catastrophic accident, or dementia, we can help. Call an Irvine conservatorship lawyer today to learn how you can protect an incapacitated loved one.