Conservatorship and Guardianship

If you need legal authority to take care of a disabled loved or a minor, you must first be appointed as the conservator or guardian. The court process to initiate a conservatorship or guardianship can be complex. Most people turn to an experienced attorney to ensure that everything is handled properly.

What is a Guardianship?

When someone needs court authority take care of a minor, they must file a petition to become the minor’s legal guardian. Assuming legal guardianship for a minor is a long, convoluted process. Therefore, most people in the local area turn to a Costa Mesa guardianship attorney to ensure that everything is handled properly. After all, making even a single mistake on the reams of paperwork that must be filed could cause your guardianship request to be declined.

What Does a Legal Guardianship Entail?

Before moving forward, it’s wise to make sure you have a full understanding of what’s expected from a legal guardian. You won’t become the child’s legal parent unless you go through the adoption process, but you will have most of the other legal rights and responsibilities that are associated with parenthood. For example, it will become your responsibility to provide a safe living environment and to make sure that all of the child’s basic needs are met. Legal guardianships usually remain in place until the child’s 18th birthday, so don’t take this process lightly.

Becoming a Legal Guardian in Orange County

At least 10 forms must be filled out, copied and filed with the appropriate court clerk. Next, it’s necessary to give notice of your intent to several interested parties, including the child’s parents, grandparents and siblings, along with the Orange County Social Services department. Again, even a single mistake during this entire process could put you back to square one, and it might even prevent you from attaining legal guardianship.

After this first wave of tasks is completed, you’ll need to obtain a signed consent and waiver of notice form. If someone refuses to do this, that doesn’t mean you won’t be granted the guardianship, but they’ll be notified of the court hearing about your case and may choose to speak against your request. Before the hearing takes place, you’ll need to pass a court inspection.

What is a Conservatorship?

Some Californians become incapacitated due to an accident or illness and are unable to manage their own affairs. When an adult is incapacitated in the state, their loved ones may seek to establish a conservatorship. These are similar to guardianships but are designed for adults instead of for children. Conservatorships are managed by the courts, and they can place multiple legal requirements on the people who serve as conservators. If your loved one is no longer able to manage his or her finances or medical decisions, you should consult with a California estate planning and probate administration attorney at the Law Office of Kirk McIntosh.

The Conservatorship Process in California

In order to establish a conservatorship, you start by filing a petition with the probate court that asks for the court to appoint a conservator for your loved one. The court will schedule a hearing so that the judge can determine whether the appointment of a conservator is warranted. Prior to the hearing, an investigator from the probate court will be appointed. He or she will interview the allegedly incapacitated person as well as the person’s loved ones. Based on the evidence that the investigator gathers, he or she will make recommendations to the probate court. The court will review the investigator’s report, medical documents, physicians’ statements and other evidence that has been submitted prior to the hearing date.

At the hearing, the court will listen to testimony from the parties. If the case is complex, an additional hearing may be scheduled. When a conservator is appointed, he or she will have multiple fiduciary duties that are owed to the disabled individual. These will include such things as paying bills, managing money, making health care decisions, and submitting regular reports to the court.

Getting Help from a Lawyer

If you want to pursue a conservatorship or guardianship in California, you would benefit by getting legal help. learn more about how we might be able to help you, contact the Law Office of Kirk McIntosh today to schedule a consultation.