Mature Black woman signing documents at a home meeting with her agent

A Conservatorship in California is when a person is appointed by the court to look after another person’s financial and physical well-being. This is not always a great situation to be in since the court may appoint someone who would never be chosen by the individual or their family. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to avoid a Conservatorship or at the very least, to ensure the person you choose is named as your conservator.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal tool that grants an agent the authority to act on behalf of a person in financial matters, such as paying bills, buying and selling real estate, and conducting business dealings. The Power of Attorney helps avoid a conservatorship since an agent is already appointed to handle financial decisions. However, there are some cases where the agent was accused of mismanaging financial affairs or gave up their status as agent, which led to court hearings.

Living Will and Designation of Healthcare Agent

The Living Will and Designation of Healthcare Agent are legal tools which describe the type of medical care a person wishes to receive when they are incapacitated while also naming a person they trust to act as an agent in all healthcare matters in the event of incapacitation. As with the Power of Attorney, the Healthcare Agent should be someone who understands the importance of this role and can be trusted to make important medical decisions. Otherwise, the Probate Court may have to appoint a conservator to make healthcare decisions for you.   

Designation of Conservator
Even if both the Power of Attorney and Healthcare Agent documents fail and a Conservatorship must be put in place, there is still one document which helps to ensure that the individual is placed under the care of a conservator of their own choosing. The Designation of Conservator is a document that allows a person to name the agents they would like to make financial and healthcare decisions for them. This document is presented to the Probate Court during a Conservatorship proceedings to inform the judge that the individual made a decision while sound of mind to appoint specific people to these roles.

If you have any questions about how we can help you avoid a Conservatorship in Orange County, please contact our Newport Beach guardianship and conservatorship lawyers at (949) 260-1400 to set up a consultation.