In California, a conservatorship is a court proceeding to protect an adult. A probate conservator will be appointed if it is clear someone cannot manage personal affairs or financial affairs. Sometimes it is for both. This does not happen automatically. Someone must file a petition and ask for help
Our office gives advice about conservatorships and handles these cases in court. We assist petitioners as well as people who may object. Margaret Martin has also been appointed by the Court to represent conservatees or proposed conservatees where there are complex facts or extreme circumstances.
Margaret has over thirty years of experience with conservatorships, and the perspective that comes from representing all sides to the problem.
If you are interested in discussing your issue with Mrs. Martin, please call 650-340-1166 to schedule an appointment.
Additional Details of a Conservatorship
A California Conservatorship begins when someone petitions the Court to have a conservator appointed to care for another person. A Petition is prepared stating the reasons, a conservatorship is necessary. A written Notice of Hearing is mailed to relatives, and a Court hearing is assigned by the Court. The Court hearing is required. The Court has its own Investigator to talk to everyone involved and prepare a confidential written report. The individual who may need a conservator is called a Conservatee.
The Petitioner is the person who is asks the Court to take action. The proposed Conservator is the person who will be in charge. The Petitioner is usually the proposed Conservator, but it can also be another person or a professional conservator. Any relative, friend or interested person can participate by talking to the Court Investigator, or coming to Court on the hearing date. The proposed conservatee has the right to oppose the conservatorship. These rights are respected by the Court even if the need for a conservator is obvious. An attorney may be appointed for the proposed conservatee.
Not all cases require the appointment of an attorney. The cost of the court-appointed attorney is charged to the conservatee if he/she has resources. If not, the Court will still arrange an attorney from a special panel of qualified attorneys. The Court charges a fee for the first papers, plus a separate investigation fee. These fees are paid to the Court. The fees for the court-appointed attorney are determined at the end of the proceeding, and are paid by the conservatee's estate. The petitioner's attorney who prepares the papers, will charge a fee which is usually computed on an hourly basis.
The more complex the circumstances, the more time is required, and the higher the attorney's fees will be. Some attorneys will require payment from their client's own personal resources, with the understanding that reimbursement will be sought from the conservatee's resources at a later time.