If a loved one becomes incapacitated, can no longer make financial decisions, or is vulnerable to undue influence or elder abuse, a conservatorship proceeding is often the best option. An adult guardianship lawyer can help you establish (or oppose) a conservatorship to preserve your family’s well-being.
Danville Conservatorship Attorney in California
Professional Danville Adult Conservatorship Lawyer in California
Barr & Douds is a well-respected law firm located in Danville, California that offers legal services in the areas of estate planning, trust administration, and conservatorship cases. With a team of experienced California conservatorship attorneys, the firm is committed to providing personalized legal solutions tailored to each client’s unique needs. Our conservatorship practice focuses on helping clients navigate the complex legal process of obtaining and managing conservatorships for vulnerable adults. The attorneys at Barr & Douds strive to make the process as stress-free as possible, providing compassionate guidance and support to their clients every step of the way. If you’re seeking a professional Danville conservatorship lawyer in California, Barr & Douds is a trusted choice.
What Is a Conservatorship?
It is a court proceeding designed to protect elders or dependent adults who may be unable to care for themselves or to resist fraud or undue influence. In a typical case, a family member or friend (called the “petitioner”) files a petition with the court in which he or she asks to be named the “conservator” for the elder, who is referred to as the “proposed conservatee”. A “conservator of the person” is a person granted authority by the court to make decisions regarding the personal care of the conservatee. The conservator of the person typically makes decisions about the conservatee’s medical affairs, living arrangements, and social life. A “conservator of the estate” is a responsible person who is granted the authority to make financial decisions for the elder.
One person can serve as both the conservator of the estate and the conservator of the person, although sometimes it is prudent or convenient for different individuals to serve in these roles.
Conservatorship Services We Provide in Danville, CA
As a reputable law firm in Danville, California, we provide comprehensive conservatorship services, including general or limited conservatorship services to individuals and families in need. Our experienced attorneys offer a wide range of legal solutions to help clients navigate the complex conservatorship process. Barr & Douds has represented clients from Walnut Creek, San Francisco, and throughout the Bay Area in:
Removing & Replacing a Conservator
Terminating a Conservatorship
We provide legal support and guidance for general conservatorships, which involve managing the personal and financial affairs of a conservatee who is unable to do so themselves.
If there is a dispute over who should be appointed as conservator or if there is disagreement among family members, our attorneys can assist in resolving the matter through a contested conservatorship proceeding.
In emergency situations, we can help you obtain a temporary conservatorship to ensure your loved one’s immediate needs are met. Our conservatorship attorney will work quickly to file the necessary paperwork and obtain the temporary conservatorship.
Our attorneys can assist you in removing and replacing a conservator if you believe they are not fulfilling their legal duties or are acting against the best interests of the conservatee’s assets.
When a conservatorship is no longer necessary, our attorneys can help you terminate the conservatorship. We will work with you to file the necessary paperwork and guide you through the court procedures.
Schedule a Consultation with a Northern California Conservatorship Attorney
When a Person Needs a Conservatorship?
A conservatorship is a legal arrangement that grants one person, the conservator, the authority to manage the personal and financial affairs of another person, known as the conservatee. A conservatorship may be necessary when an individual is unable to care for themselves due to incapacity or disability, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or a traumatic brain injury. In such cases, the conservator can make decisions related to the conservatee’s health care, living arrangements, and financial matters.
Guardianships may also be necessary for minors who have inherited property or money, or who have been awarded a settlement or judgment in a lawsuit. The guardian ensures that the minor’s assets are protected and used for their benefit until they reach adulthood.
However, conservatorships can be a complex and emotionally challenging process for all involved parties. It’s important to consult with a knowledgeable conservatorship lawyer to understand your legal rights and obligations and to ensure that the conservatee’s best interests are being protected.
Is a Conservatorship Necessary?
While having a durable power of attorney and advance health care directive can help avoid the need for a conservatorship, there are situations where it may still be necessary. For instance, if the person in need of care is uncooperative with the trustee or agent appointed under these documents, a conservatorship may be necessary to ensure that their needs are being met.
Additionally, if there are concerns about the validity of these documents, or if there is a risk of fraud or undue influence, a conservatorship may be needed to protect the individual.
Ultimately, whether a conservatorship is necessary will depend on the specific circumstances of the individual and their family. It’s important to work with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney who can help assess the need for a conservatorship and provide guidance on the best course of action to protect the person in need of care.
A “voluntary conservatorship” is one in which the elder agrees that he or she should be conserved. Most voluntary conservatorships can be established within a few months at a reasonable cost.
In a “contested conservatorship”, either the elder or a family member or friend objects to the conservatorship. The “objector” often argues that there is no need for a conservatorship-that the elder can care for him or herself. Even when the parties agree that a conservator is necessary, they often disagree about who should serve in that role.
In a contested proceeding, the court appoints an attorney to represent the proposed conservatee if he or she has no attorney. If the case does not settle, the elder has the right to a jury trial to determine whether he or she should be conserved.
The court will also often appoint an independent doctor, typically a neuropsychologist or neuropsychiatrist, to examine the proposed conservatee and render an opinion on some of the disputed issues. These issues might include whether the proposed conservatee needs a conservator of the estate or person and whether he or she has the mental capacity to execute an estate plan or sign a contract. These doctors are often called “730 experts” because California Evidence Code Section 730 is the source of the court’s authority to appoint experts to investigate and render a report.
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Standard for Obtaining a Conservatorship in Northern California
Probate Code § 1801 states the elements that must be established to obtain a general conservatorship:
(a) A conservator of the person may be appointed for a person who is unable to provide properly for his or her personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter, except as provided for the person as described in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 1828.5.
(b) A conservator of the estate may be appointed for a person who is substantially unable to manage his or her own financial resources or resist fraud or undue influence, except as provided for that person as described in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 1828.5. The substantial inability may not be proved solely by isolated incidents of negligence or improvidence.
(c) A conservator of the person and estate may be appointed for a person described in subdivisions (a) and (b).
The petitioner must prove these elements by clear and convincing evidence, which means he or she must show that it is highly probable that the proposed conservatee needs a conservator. This is a higher burden of proof than is typically applied in civil cases.
The Conservatorship Process in California
- After the petitioner files the necessary pleadings, the conservatee must be served with the court papers and is typically required to attend the first court hearing. This can be emotionally difficult when the case involves a child trying to protect a vulnerable parent, as most children are reluctant to make an elderly parent appear in court. Fortunately, the conservatee does not have to attend the first hearing if a doctor declares under penalty of perjury that the conservatee is medically unable to attend. In every case, the conservatee must be personally served with the petition.
- When a new case is filed, a court investigator is assigned to interview the proposed conservatee, his or her family, and other interested parties and witnesses. The court investigator files a report with the court with commendation about whether a conservatorship is appropriate. The court investigator’s report is not conclusive, but many judges rely heavily on the investigator’s recommendations.
- The petitioner must file a capacity declaration, which is a standard form completed by a doctor who has examined the proposed conservatee. The doctor evaluates the proposed conservatee’s mental functions in four areas: “alertness and attention”, “information processing”, “thought disorders”, and “ability to modulate mood and affect”. The doctor will also opine on the proposed conservatee’s capacity to give informed consent to medical treatment”.
Like most civil disputes, these cases usually settle before trial. We regularly participate in mediation on behalf of our clients to avoid the stress and expense of trial.
Why Choose Our Conservatorship Attorneys in Danville, CA?
Choosing the right conservatorship attorney is crucial for ensuring that your loved one’s needs are properly met. At Barr & Douds, our experienced attorneys are dedicated to providing compassionate, personalized legal services to clients in Danville, CA, and the surrounding areas. Here are some of the benefits of working with our conservatorship attorneys:
- Expertise in conservatorship law and procedures;
- Personalized legal solutions tailored to your unique needs;
- Compassionate guidance and support throughout the legal process;
- Access to a team of experienced attorneys with a track record of success;
- Transparent communication and regular updates on your case;
- Commitment to protecting your loved one’s best interests and well-being;
- Strong advocacy in and out of the courtroom.
Our conservatorship attorneys have been involved in many of these cases and specialize in such matters. Our conservatorship lawyers’ objective is to protect the elder and prevent his or her estate from being depleted by unnecessary legal fees.