CONSERVATORSHIP: How to Get Conservatorship

Conservatorship, Conservatorship vs Power of Attorney
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Circumstances may occur where an individual is unable to make decisions as a result of disability or old age. When this happens, the two most popular alternatives are a power of attorney or conservatorship. In the medical field, a conservator has the authority to supervise or make decisions for an adult suffering from serious mental illness. This is referred to as an LPS conservatorship. Hence, the conservator has the authority to place the conservatee anywhere in California as needed, including locked mental health facilities. This is mostly applicable to people who fit the criteria for the LPS conservatorship. This article will help you understand the difference between power of attorney vs. conservatorship. You’ll also get to know how people abuse conservatorship and how to get a conservatorship.

What Is a Conservatorship?

Conservatorship is a legal status in which a court appoints someone to handle the financial and personal affairs of a minor or disabled individual.

A conservator can also act as a guardian, arranging and supervising the individual’s physical care and controlling their living arrangements. This can range from a limited conservatorship, which handles only specific issues such as health or finances, to a full conservatorship, in which you effectively have the same rights and obligations as a parent over a kid.

However, a conservator has complete control over the relevant areas of their conservatee’s life. When this framework applies to a minor, it is referred to as guardianship. As a result, some jurisdictions refer to conservatorships as “adult guardianships.” However,

It is necessary to keep in mind that a conservatorship focuses on the requirements of the conservatee, not the conservator’s interests. The decision-maker will often confer with doctors and social workers before appointing a conservatorship depending on what they believe would best keep the conservatee well and safe.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney (“POA”) is a legally binding document whereby a Grantor allows another person to act on their behalf. If the Grantor becomes incompetent, the POA continues. However, a Power of Attorney expires when the Grantor dies. The POA’s goal is to ensure that the Grantor’s financial and legal affairs are appropriately taken care of if he or she becomes incompetent. A POA is revocable, which means that the Grantor (or the principal) can revoke the Power of Attorney at any moment.

However, incompetence isn’t the only reason someone might require a power of attorney. While working abroad, expatriates and their families could choose a power of attorney for their affairs in America. Younger people who travel frequently may establish a POA so that someone can handle their affairs in their absence. However, POAs are most usually determined when someone is old or faces a catastrophic, long-term health issue.

If you have a POA and become unable to act on your behalf due to mental or physical infirmity, your agent or attorney will make financial decisions to guarantee your well-being and care. For example, they may need to pay bills, sell assets to cover medical expenses or begin Medicaid planning on your behalf. A POA can also authorize the handling of financial transactions, real estate decisions, government or retirement benefits, and medical billing.

Conservatorship vs Power of Attorney: What’s the Difference?

There are significant differences between a Conservatorship vs Power of Attorney. A POA is normally established before an individual is incompetent, whereas a conservatorship is often established after an individual becomes incompetent. The court will require a petition to appoint a conservator. When this happens, there will be no need for court participation in the Power of Attorney.

If an individual requests conservatorship when a power of attorney is already in place, the court may consider a power of attorney before deciding on a conservatory. However, because the power of attorney does not cover all needs, if the individual’s needs exceed those covered by the power of attorney, the court may award a conservatorship to assist with those extra needs.

Types of Conservatorship

The length and scope of the conservatorship will determine the level and duration of the conservator’s jurisdiction. Below are common types of conservatorship arrangements:

#1. General Conservatorship

This category includes those unable to manage their health, finances, or care. Elderly persons and those suffering from debilitating injuries are common conservatees.

#2. Limited Conservatorship

Adults with developmental impairments who require some support but are not at the same level as people with more severe disabilities are often the beneficiaries of these conservatorships. Those with cerebral palsy or epilepsy, for example, may have limited conservatorships.

#3. Temporary Conservatorship

When the conservatee needs immediate assistance, you can use this type of conservator. A judge, for example, may appoint a temporary conservator while he or she considers a formal petition for a longer-term general or limited conservator.

Keep in mind that each state has its unique types of conservatorship programs and legislation. The Lanterman-Petris-Short conservatorship, for example, is available in California and gives aid to those suffering from a mental condition or chronic alcoholism who refuse to submit to treatment freely. Now you know the types of conservatorship, let’s see how to get it.

How to Get a Conservatorship vs Power of Attorney

To get a conservatorship, a relative, friend, or public official petitions the court for the appointment of a conservator. The petition must explain why the individual is unable to manage his or her financial affairs or make appropriate decisions about his or her care. Following the filing of a petition with the court, a court investigator interviews the possible conservatee and determines whether the individual is incompetent and whether the appointment of a conservator is appropriate. The inspector provides an opinion to the court. Interested parties and members of the public will get notice of the proceedings and will also have the opportunity to participate in the conservatorship.

Unless medically unable to do so, the conservatee must appear in court on the scheduled hearing date. Based on the petition, the investigator’s report, and any evidence presented during the hearing. The court decides whether the conservatorship is necessary and what types of extraordinary powers will be granted to the conservator. A court investigator visits the conservatee regularly to see if the conservatorship is still appropriate.

What is Conservatorship Abuse?

A popular approach for someone to exploit an elderly person is to become their conservator or guardian. A conservator is someone who helps his or her conservatee with things like bill payments, grocery shopping, appointment scheduling, and so on because some elderly people are unable to do it on their own. As such, a conservator should make decisions that are honest and honorable. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Although judges grant conservatorships to safeguard the conservatee, the legal arrangement does not always work out. In conservatorship abuse, financial exploitation, physical abuse, neglect, unpaid bills, missing checks, questionable or abrupt changes in wills, estate plans, financial practices, or unusual asset dispositions are all classic indicators of conservatorship abuse.

Putting an End to Conservatorship Abuse

Conservatorship abuse can only be stopped if the courts get involved. The opposite party would petition a judge to conduct an investigation, and the judge would appoint an elder law counsel to defend the conservatee. Some of the issues the court will investigate include any of the following issues:

  • Elderly abuse
  • Exploitation financial abuse
  • Fiduciary obligation violation
  • Asset recovery and discovery citations

The legal process concerning conservatorship abuse is often time-consuming and difficult to navigate. Consult with an elder law expert right away if you suspect someone of conservatorship abuse.

LPS Conservatorship

LPS Conservatorship is a conservatorship for the person and/or estate of a person who the court has ruled to be “gravely handicapped” owing to mental illness. The conservatorship is set up to enable involuntary treatment. This is to help eradicate or diminish the severe handicap to the point where third-party help is acceptable.

The LPS Conservatorship Offers the Following Types of Services:

  • A decision-maker appointed by the court
  • Ensure the necessary delivery of medication
  • Safeguard the individual’s and/or personal assets.
  • Act on the individual’s behalf
  • Determine the proper amount of care.
  • Keep track of treatment plans.
  • We collaborate with behavioral health and recovery services.

How LPS Conservatorship Works

First, you must create a compelling written case for your loved one’s mental health care. Your written case will be useful to obtain treatment resources. It will also assist you in placing your loved one in a hospital, and/or using the Department of Mental Health Treatment Programs. However, your case should include a mental health history, symptoms, and characteristics, as well as a description of your profoundly deficient state. Your written case will assist in obtaining treatment, including the LPS Conservatorship. This will also assist the doctor in diagnosing and treating your loved one. However, you can also copy the format to a word document,  Then, eliminate what does not apply to your loved one and replace it with what does. 

Furthermore, your written case will assist you to get the therapy your loved one requires. Give a copy of this material to the hospital’s social worker and suggest that they forward it to the doctor. The public guardian’s office should only receive a copy of this document after filing the LPS Conservatorship referral. Also, when applying for SSI/SSDI and Medi-Cal, use the written case for treatment. If healthcare professionals refuse to take your information, show them a copy of California Welfare and Institutions Code 5008.2, which stipulates that healthcare providers MUST take your information. This rule is part of the Law Section. Use your case when requesting Department of Mental Health programs like Assisted Outpatient Treatment or Full-Service Partnership.

Conclusion

When you give someone else the authority to make legally binding decisions on your behalf, you are giving them the power of attorney. A conservatorship is when the court gives someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf. While you can revoke your power of attorney anytime, only a court order can end a conservatorship.  If you have any issues concerning a conservatorship vs power of attorney, you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Conservatorship FAQs

What does it mean to be placed in conservatorship?

A conservatorship is a court proceeding in which a responsible person or organization (referred to as the “conservator”) is appointed by a judge to care for another adult (referred to as the “conservatee”) who is unable to care for himself or herself or handle his or her finances.

How long does conservatorship last?

It begins with a 30-day interim appointment and can last for a one-year term. After each year, it can be renewed or discontinued.

What mental illness would require conservatorship?

Only severely impaired adults with a mental illness specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illnesses (DSM IV) are eligible for conservatorships from the court. People with the following conditions are eligible for conservatorships: ​Schizophrenia,  Bi-Polar disorder (manic depression)

What are alternatives to conservatorship?

Powers of attorney and trusts, as well as Advance Health Care Directives, are all alternatives to conservatorship in California.

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