Guardianships and conservatorships are essential legal processes in California for those who cannot manage their own legal affairs due to a lack of capacity related to age or to illness or disease. The basic distinction between a guardianship and a conservatorship is that, in California, a guardianship applies only to a child and a child’s estate. By contrast, a conservatorship is set-up for an adult who is no longer able to manage his or her personal and financial affairs and requires the another to exercise protective control over his or her affairs and assets.
However, courts do not grant guardianships or conservatorships lightly. Filing to establish either form of protection can be complicated and sufficient legal showings are required. Individuals who cannot make these showings or do not demonstrate the requisite ability to care for the affairs of another to a judge are unlikely to have their request approved. This can lead to additional complications for a situation potentially already fraught with anxiety.
Robert Hoffman of the Hoffman Law Office is a California estate planning attorney serving Los Angeles from his Marina del Rey office. Robert is a compassionate and strategic estate planning lawyer who can help individuals with their estate planning needs including California guardianships and partnerships. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call 800-897-3915 or contact Mr. Hoffman online today.
Why Do Adults Need Conservatorships?
There are an array of reasons why adults of all ages may require a conservatorship, but they typically all involve the development of some condition that creates a mental incapacity and inability to manage one’s own affairs and protect against financial predators. Perhaps a car accident or another type of accident resulted in a traumatic brain injury that brought about incapacity. In other cases, the individual may have failed to anticipate for the infirmities of old age before a serious, debilitating condition set in. Whatever the case, a conservatorship can provide the structure, support, and guidance the adult needs to handle his or her affairs.
Under California state law there are general two types of conservatorships that can be formed. The first is through a probate court and is known as a probate conservatorship. This is typically the type of conservatorship one is seeking when they hire a lawyer. Additionally the is the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act conservatorship (LPS Conservatorship). This type of conservatorship is often established by state agencies.
Why Are Guardianships Set-up for Children and Their Estate in California?
Guardianships have a similar legal effect as a conservatorship, but they are only available for children and others who are minors. Generally a guardianship is established because the child’s parents are unable to care for the child. This can be due to illness or death. However, a guardianship can also be established when parents are a danger or a significant negative influence on the child’s development. Individuals who petition to become a child’s guardian will, upon its granting, gain legal and physical custody of the child. Thus, the guardian becomes responsible for the child’s needs and development. Furthermore, when the child inherits property or has assets, the guardian will also oversee the child’s estate. The guardian is required to responsibly manage and administer the estate in the best interests of the child.
In certain cases, it may be prudent to explore other options for the child’s care before moving to establish a guardianship. Options that the caregiver may have include a Power of Attorney for a Minor Child and a caregiver’s affidavit. However, there are significant limitations on the power of these alternative methods of providing care and support for a child. For instance, both of these agreements can be dissolved by the parent at any time. Therefore, if the parent is a danger to the child, it is typically prudent to establish the guardianship. Furthermore, there are often healthcare and health insurance related problems with a power of attorney of this type when the new caregiver wishes to bring the child onto his or her insurance plan. Thus while these alternatives are easier to form, they come with their own drawbacks. Consult with an experienced lawyer before taking any substantive action regarding a guardianship or other arrangements.
Conservator and Guardianship Guidance from Estate Planning Attorney Serving Los Angeles
Robert Hoffman of the Hoffman Law Offices provides guidance and support for family members and others looking to establish a conservatorship or guardianship to look over the affairs of a loved one. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call 800-897-3915 today or contact us online.