Where The Needs Of Others Come First · Available 24x7 For Emergencies
We all like to think we’re prepared for the eventuality of growing old, but unfortunately, circumstances can sometimes spiral quickly out of control. Your healthy, active parent – who feels she has years to worry about things like durable powers of attorney – may one day suffer a debilitating stroke. Suddenly, she’s unable to make decisions and worse, unable to choose her own advocate. At this point, a legal conservatorship might need to be considered.
Legal conservators are appointed and overseen by the court system. A conservatorship can be created when a judge decides that a person (called the “conservatee”) can’t take care of their financial affairs, or themselves or both. When that happens, the court chooses another party, a person or an organization, (called the “conservator”) to be in charge of the conservatee’s care or finances, or both.
In California, there are two kinds of conservatorships:
- Conservatorship of the person, in which the physical care of the person is controlled by the conservator
- Conservatorship of the estate, in which the person’s financial affairs are controlled by the conservator
Sometimes, the conservator of the person and the conservator of the estate are the same person, but if they’re not, geriatric care managers do an excellent job of keeping everyone updated about your loved one’s health and home or long-term care situation.
A conservatorship is not something to enter into lightly. In a conservatorship, the court is taking rights away from the conservatee. Because of that, conservatorships are complex legal arrangements that can lead to large legal fees and other costs. When possible, less costly alternatives such as trustee arrangements should be considered as well. Expert advice from an elder law attorney is needed in order to select the most appropriate approach.
Geriatric care managers help with crisis management when the unexpected happens, offer professional, objective advice about the care of your loved one, and provide status reports to you and to appointed conservators (or trustees). Whether or not advanced planning works out quite like you hoped, court-appointed conservators, caregivers, and a competent geriatric care manager working together can help make the best of difficult situations when they arise.