Conservatorship

ConservatorshipA conservatorship may refer to the legal responsibilities over a person who is mentally ill, including those who are psychoticsuicidal, incapacitated or is in some other way unable to make legal, medical or financial decisions on behalf of themselves.

Most jurisdictions use the term “guardianship” to refer to the same legal principle (in California, conservatorships are for adults and guardianships are for children). More often, and in all jurisdictions that have adopted the Uniform Probate Code, a conservator, who is granted control of the protected person’s estate, (see Estate (law)) is distinguished from a guardian, who is granted control of the protected person’s “person“, or body. To illustrate, a protected person’s conservator has authority to take money belonging to the protected person and use it to buy food for the protected person’s consumption; a guardian has authority to have a feeding tube used to put nourishment into the protected person’s stomach. It is not uncommon for one person to hold both offices and be referred to as the “guardian and conservator” of the protected person, even though, technically, he or she is “conservator” not of the protected person but of the protected person’s estate. A person under conservatorship is a “conservatee;” a person under guardianship is a “ward“. These terms may be found in use in U.P.C. jurisdictions, even though the U.P.C. uses the term “protected person” in either case. In most states, a court visitor or some other investigatory person or agency must review the facts of the case and submit a report, usually required to be in writing, to the court before the court makes a decision on the request to establish a conservatorship or guardianship. Court visitors are often required to be experts in some appropriate field, such as social work or law. Procedures for conservatorship of an adult are often different from those for minors.

Conservatorships are generally put in place for severely mentally ill individuals or seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Elite Medical Center provides Physicians Evaluation for Conservatorships. You can contact our office to obtain an evaluation of conservatoree’s mental fitness and the need for a conservatorship in an involuntary case. Typically our physician will prepare a letter setting forth her opinion on the need for a conservatorship. Additionally, judges normally require the physician to appear at the hearing to testify and respond to any questions about the status of the prospective conservatee.

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