When Californians think about estate planning, it is natural to focus on wills, trusts and other basic aspects of preparing for the future. Incapacity planning is not something people want to consider, but when loved ones are getting older and experiencing declining health, a conservatorship may become necessary.
Under a conservatorship, a person is appointed to provide care for another person. The carer is the conservator and the cared-for person is the conservatee. In general, the conservatee is someone who cannot manage their own finances and other important affairs.
While many conservatorships last until the death of the conservatee, a conservatorship can be changed or ended long before that point.
When can a conservator be changed or ended?
Conservators can leave the position for many reasons. If, for example, they become ill or they simply cannot fulfill the duties anymore, the court can accept a resignation. However, the court does not necessarily need to accept the resignation. Having a suitable replacement to perform the duties is a good idea beforehand.
The court can also decide to remove the conservator. This can happen if the conservator does not live up to the duties of the conservatorship. If family members, friends or colleagues of the conservatee have concerns about the conservator’s behavior and ability to handle the job, they can ask for a change. Of course, if the conservator dies, a new one will need to be found.
In other cases, the conservatee’s need for help might not be permanent. Often, people have a temporary illness or condition that rendered them incapable of handling their own affairs. Once that has subsided, they can oversee their own affairs and finances.
It can end when the conservatee no longer has any assets remaining.
With conservatorships, strong guidance is beneficial
Caring for family members is a priority and a conservatorship is a key part of incapacity planning that can help. As relatives age, they inevitably need help with various aspects of life. If it reaches the point where they must be watched personally or financially, a conservatorship could be the wise strategy.
For assistance in making these life-changing decisions – including when the change a conservator or end a conservatorship – talking to qualified professionals is essential.