If estate planning is the process of designing a playbook, probate administration occurs when the playbook is put into action. The process begins with an event that triggers a provision in your estate plan, such as incapacity or death. The plan becomes ‘executory’, meaning that the individuals you designated in your plan documents must step into action and execute according to your instructions.
Probate administration can be complex and the people you have designated must have competent and experienced counsel to guide them through the process. They must make important decisions – sometimes quickly – and they need help to make them wisely. They may need to prepare inventories of your property, prepare tax returns, or sign other important documents on your behalf. Ultimately they must divide and distribute your property to those individuals or charities you identified in your will or trust agreement.
The probate administration process carries a lot of responsibilities. We can help guide your loved ones through the process as sensitively and completely as possible, and will try to make it as straightforward and efficient as possible.
A Conservatorship in California is a legal arrangement that allows one person (the conservator) to make decisions and manage the personal affairs and/or finances of another person (the conservatee) who is unable to do so due to incapacity, disability, or other reasons. This legal concept is designed to protect individuals who are deemed unable to care for themselves or make informed decisions about their personal and financial matters. Conservatorships are typically established for the elderly, disabled adults, or individuals with developmental disabilities who cannot manage their own affairs.
There are two main types of conservatorships in California:
- Conservatorship of the Person: This type of conservatorship grants authority to the conservator to make decisions related to the conservatee’s personal care and well-being. This can include decisions about medical treatment, housing, daily activities, and other personal matters.
- Conservatorship of the Estate: A conservator of the estate is responsible for managing the conservatee’s financial affairs, assets, and property. This includes paying bills, managing investments, and making financial decisions on behalf of the conservatee.
The process to establish a conservatorship in California generally involves the following steps:
- Petition: A concerned individual, often a family member or friend, must file a petition with the California Superior Court to request the establishment of a conservatorship. The court will evaluate the request to determine if it is warranted.
- Investigation: The court will appoint an investigator or evaluator to assess the conservatee’s mental and physical condition and to determine if a conservatorship is necessary.
- Court Hearing: A court hearing is held to review the evidence and determine if a conservatorship is needed. The proposed conservator and conservatee have the right to be present at this hearing and may be represented by legal counsel.
- Appointment: If the court approves the conservatorship, it will issue an order appointing a conservator of the person, the estate, or both, depending on the circumstances.
- Reporting: The appointed conservator is required to submit regular reports to the court regarding the conservatee’s well-being (for conservatorship of the person) or financial matters (for conservatorship of the estate).
- Termination: Conservatorships can be temporary or permanent, depending on the conservatee’s condition. If the conservatee’s condition improves, the conservatorship may be terminated.
It’s important to note that conservatorships are subject to court oversight to ensure the conservator acts in the best interests of the conservatee. Additionally, conservatees have the right to contest the conservatorship or request modifications if they believe it is no longer necessary.
If you need to establish guardianship for a family member, or if you are being told you need a guardianship for yourself, then give us a call at 559-374-2223 to discuss your situation and how we can help.