How Our Conservatorship And Guardianship Attorneys Can Help You
At Frisella Neilson, APC, our attorneys can assist when a conservatorship or guardianship becomes necessary.
A conservatorship may be necessary when a family member or loved one becomes unable to care for himself or herself and/or his or her estate or when an adult with developmental disabilities requires assistance. The court-appointed conservator handles these important matters for an adult who is incapacitated, or mentally or physically disabled.
A conservatorship may be sought if family members are concerned that an elder is being isolated, neglected or financially abused. In that situation a family member might seek conservatorship to attempt to provide for the needs of the elder and prevent further abuse. If someone the elder designated as the agent under a power of attorney and/or advance healthcare directive fails to act or is taking advantage of the elder, a conservatorship may be sought.
A guardianship is for children. It enables (and obligates) an adult to take on the role of a parent, providing food, shelter, medical care and educational options for the child as well as fulfilling other obligations such as making financial decisions on the child’s behalf. A guardianship may become necessary when a child loses a parent, possibly as a result of death, but oftentimes as a result of that child’s parents’ inability to continue to care for the child.
After a guardianship is granted there may be disputes about visitation or removal of a guardian.
Our conservatorship and guardianship lawyers have decades of experience in helping clients. We are adept at working within the California court system, and we can help you navigate its complexities.
Frequently Asked Questions About Guardianship And Conservatorship In California
Below, we have answered some of the questions that clients often ask our attorneys.
What are the responsibilities of conservators?
Responsibilities vary on a case-by-case basis. For instance, a court may appoint someone as conservator of the person, meaning they are tasked with tending to the daily needs of the individual, including living arrangements, coordinating care, meals and transportation, and more.
Courts can also appoint a conservator of the estate, charged with managing an individual’s finances and assets. Responsibilities may include paying bills, making a budget, locating and cataloging assets and more.
How can I avoid putting my family through the conservatorship process?
Seeking conservatorship can sometimes be a lengthy, stressful and expensive process. Moreover, the person in need of assistance may end up with a conservator that they wouldn’t have chosen for themselves.
The way to avoid this is to designate an agent under a durable power of attorney now, so should you ever become incapacitated your designated agent can often perform the same functions as a conservator, without the need to be court-appointed.
Can parents choose who becomes the guardian of their children?
Yes, depending on the circumstances. Say, for instance, a husband and wife both died in a car accident. Before the accident, they had created an estate plan that included a named guardian for their minor child. It still requires a court to appoint the guardian, but so long as the arrangement was in the best interests of the child and the named guardian was willing to take on the role, the request would likely be granted.
By contrast, a parent whose children were taken away due to negligence or abuse would not usually have a say regarding where they were placed.
How long does guardianship last?
If it is legal guardianship (as opposed to informal guardianship), the arrangement could be deemed permanent (until the child reaches age 18 in most cases), or temporary. In cases of temporary guardianship, the arrangement may expire when the need for the guardianship is no longer relevant. If the parent has been out of the country for a number of years, for instance, the guardianship may expire when they return.
Discuss Your Case With Our Attorneys
Whatever your situation, our conservatorship and guardianship attorneys can assist you. For more information or to schedule a meeting, please contact us online or call our San Diego office at 866-334-2614.