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May 14, 2015 by |

Duties of a Conservator

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

A conservatorship can be established for someone who can no longer adequately take care of his or her personal care or finances. California Law requires all conservators to have a copy of The Judicial Council of California’s “Handbook for Conservators,” which includes a description of conservator duties.

Duties of a conservator include:
-Making decisions about the conservatee’s living arrangements. California law requires that a conservator chooses the “least restrictive, appropriate” home possible. This should be a place that offers the services that the conservatee needs to live as independently as possible, whether that be his or her own home, or a care facility. The conservatee’s finances, desires, tastes, lifestyle, care or personal assistance needs, and medical condition should all be taken into account.
-Planning for the conservatee’s personal needs, including food, clothing, and healthcare. This can also include personal care, housekeeping, transportation, and recreation.
-Ensuring that care does not exceed the financial means of the conservator (if there is a separate conservator of the estate, the conservator should coordinate with them in this case).

The goal is to provide the best possible quality of life for the conservatee, and make choices that respect their self-esteem and dignity. The conservatee should be involved in decisions as much as possible, and have as much independence as he or she can handle.

For conservators of the estate, who manage a conservatee’s financial matters, duties also include:
-Determining the conservatee’s assets and filing an inventory and appraisal with the court. Assets to look for include cash, uncashed checks and refunds, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, promissory notes, partnerships, business interests, pensions, 401K plans, and other retirement plans, life insurance policies, real estate, furniture, antiques, artwork, jewelry, valuable dogs or other pets, valuable collections, and vehicles.
-Determining sources of income for the conservatee. This can include government beenfits, insurance benefiets, wages, severance pay, or leave pay owed to the conservatee, pensions, retirement plan payments or withdrawal, lawsuit settlements, payment of debts owed, money from trusts, rental income, annuities, and reparations from foreign countries.
-Paying the conservatee’s bills. The conservator should open a checking account in the name “Conservatorship of [conservatee’s name], [conservator’s name], Conservator of the Estate.”
-Making a budget for the conservatee.
-Making suitable investments. The conservator should consult with a lawyer regarding any potential investments. Some investments may not be authorized, or need prior court approval.
-Applying for benefits.
– Keeping financial records and filing periodic accountings with the court.

Evans Law Firm, Inc. handles financial elder abuse lawsuits, and can help set up a conservatorship if one is needed. If you are in need of counsel to assist in setting up a conservatorship, please contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. at 415-441-8669 or via email at info@evanslaw.com.

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