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The care of the most-vulnerable members of your family is, likely, your foremost concern. At the Ellahie Law Firm, we can advise you on making crucial decisions about the financial support and protection of minor children, developmentally disabled adults, physically challenged adults, and similarly disadvantaged children who face a precarious future if care is not taken to provide for them. A Conservatorship establishes a person to care for an adult, whereas a Guardianship (described further below) appoints a person to care for a minor.
A conservatorship enables a Court-appointed individual, called a Conservator, to make decisions regarding the care of an adult friend or family member. The two main types of conservatorships: Conservatorship of the Person and Conservatorship of the Estate. A conservator can be appointed Conservator of the Person and the Estate. The individual being conserved is called the Conservatee. The proposed Conservator will need to prove to the court that there is no less restrictive means of assisting the proposed Conservatee.
Conservatorship of the Person enables a friend or family member to assist an adult who is no longer able to care for themselves. A Conservator of the person obtains the powers to make decisions regarding the Conservatee medical treatment, place of housing, right to contract, access of records, education, etc.
A Conservatorship of the Estate deals with financial matters. A Conservator of the Estate is responsible for managing the Conservatee's finances, including applying for government benefits on behalf of the Conservatee, managing any financial accounts in Conservatee's name and keeping said accounts organized. A Conservator of the Estate must prepare accounting reports submitted to the court annually.
Ellahie Law Firm attorneys work with Conservators throughout Campbell, San Jose, San Francisco and the East Bay.
You should name a guardian who will raise your children according to your parental philosophies. The court will reject a guardian who is unwilling or unable to care for your child. We suggest that you name an alternate guardian to fulfill the role if your primary guardian choice is unavailable. We also recommend that you thoroughly discuss your decision with your chosen guardian to confirm that the guardian is willing and prepared to accept the full responsibility of caring for your child as you see fit
Naming a guardian is especially important if you are a single parent or in the event that both parents were to die in a common incident. If you do not name a guardian, it is the court that will appoint a guardian for your children, and the court might make an unacceptable decision. You can make your own parenting decisions by drafting a will and updating your will if your designated guardian dies or becomes incapacitated.
A comprehensive estate plan that includes a trust, an advance health care directive, and a power of attorney for financial affairs may prevent the need to establish a Conservatorship and provides a more cost effective alternative.