For Californians who have an adult loved one who needs a certain level of care due to developmental disabilities, a conservatorship may be a viable option. However, people are frequently unsure of what type of conservatorship would be the best choice for their situation. For people caring for an adult who has a mental or physical impairment that began before they turned 18, a limited conservatorship can be used. Before moving forward, it is important to be fully cognizant of the duties that go along with a limited conservatorship.
Basic duties with a limited conservatorship
Under a limited conservatorship, the conservator is accorded rights to oversee the affairs of a disabled person. It is for those who have a severe and chronic disability stemming from some form of impairment that started prior to them turning 18 and is designed to help them with their basic needs. The limited conservatorship can be for the person or for their estate. The conservator for the person will help with the basics of daily life. The conservator of the estate will oversee paying expenses, scrutinizing finances and more.
The court can give various levels of responsibility to the conservator. In the Letters of Conservatorship, the rights will be listed. These accord powers and what the conservator can do while allowing the disabled person to maintain some independence. Just because a person is developmentally disabled does not imply they are unable to do things for themselves.
An assessment of the person’s abilities to handle their own affairs and their limits can be initiated by the judge to decide how far the conservator’s duties will go. These duties might include deciding where the conservatee will live; seeing confidential records; consenting or denying the right to have medical treatment; deciding on their education and employment; and managing their affairs. There are other rights that can be granted. In general, the limited conservatorship is meant to help the conservatee gain some level of self-reliance.
Conservatorships can be complex and experienced advice can be imperative
Since becoming a conservator is such a significant responsibility and the situations inevitably vary, it is important to have guidance with these potentially complicated legal issues. In some cases, the person does not believe a conservatorship – limited or otherwise – is needed. In others, there are disagreements as to the extent of the oversight the person needs. With a limited conservatorship, it is wise to have assistance to ensure the person is protected and the desired goals are achieved.