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Conservatorship

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Antigone*

Senior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

Hello Friends,

I am in need of a bit of assistance. I've been informed today that I should look to have myself appointed conservator for my daughter.

My daughter is 17 will be 18 in May. She had a car accident last May that left her with severe brain trauma. She is in a persistent vegitative state.
She is in a long-term care facility that will look to me for all medical decisions, but I have been informed that for reasons outside the facility I should look to gaining conservatorship over her.

Is this something that a layperson could do on their own or should I retain an attorney? Is this a long, complicated process? Where do I start?

take care, ana
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

Hello Friends,

I am in need of a bit of assistance. I've been informed today that I should look to have myself appointed conservator for my daughter.

My daughter is 17 will be 18 in May. She had a car accident last May that left her with severe brain trauma. She is in a persistent vegitative state.
She is in a long-term care facility that will look to me for all medical decisions, but I have been informed that for reasons outside the facility I should look to gaining conservatorship over her.

Is this something that a layperson could do on their own or should I retain an attorney? Is this a long, complicated process? Where do I start?

take care, ana


This is probably something you could do the legwork for on your own. However, it would be wise to at least consult with and ask a LOT of questions of an attorney.
 

BlondiePB

Senior Member
Why type of attorney would I be calling on?
Hi Wirelessany, conservatorships & guardianships are handled in probate. You can find these attorneys under probate law & elder law.

Look in your state statutes to determine if you must have an attorney. Most states do require guardians/conservators to have an attorney per statue.

Just because you are appointed guardian/conservator, that does not necessarily mean you are automatically a Health Care Surrogate/Proxy. The court order must state so.
 

Antigone*

Senior Member
Hi Wirelessany, conservatorships & guardianships are handled in probate. You can find these attorneys under probate law & elder law.

Look in your state statutes to determine if you must have an attorney. Most states do require guardians/conservators to have an attorney per statue.

Just because you are appointed guardian/conservator, that does not necessarily mean you are automatically a Health Care Surrogate/Proxy. The court order must state so.
Thank you BlondiePB this is way too important for me to wing. I will look for an probate attorney to help me. I will specifically state that I need to be able to handle her medical affairs.

My appreciation to you!
 

BlondiePB

Senior Member
Thank you BlondiePB this is way too important for me to wing. I will look for an probate attorney to help me. I will specifically state that I need to be able to handle her medical affairs.

My appreciation to you!
You're very welcome. Be sure to interview a few attorneys. Ask for a free initial consultation.

Should you need further assistance with this, feel free to let me know.
 
Ana,

Be sure to ask for references from the attorneys, and check those out. One of the most important questions to ask the prior client would be if the attorney quoted a fee and/or a timeline to the client initially, and if the attorney meet those expectations, or, if they deviated, if there was a good reason to do so.

Sounds like this would be a good time to have the attorney prepare a comprehensive set of documents so that you can handle your daughter's financial affairs (medicare/medicaid or other state assistance programs), perhaps some long term financial planning for her in a special needs trust, authority to deal with whatever issues remain from the accident (lawsuit? insurance?) as well as her medical decisions. You may want to give some thought to naming an alternate if something should happen to you. I don't know if her father is participating in all this, but his rights will have to be addressed, as well.

I don't know for sure, but suspect that there are some issues relating to the fact that she will be considered an adult on her 18th birthday, and you may no longer be able to automatically act for her legally or medically at that point. Thus, any actions you put in place should contemplate her legal status as an adult.

I'm sorry you are having to deal with all this, when I'm sure you've got your hands full caring for your daughter.

Know that our prayers are with you, and that we'll provide whatever assistance/support we can as you walk through this process.
 

Antigone*

Senior Member
Ana,

Be sure to ask for references from the attorneys, and check those out. One of the most important questions to ask the prior client would be if the attorney quoted a fee and/or a timeline to the client initially, and if the attorney meet those expectations, or, if they deviated, if there was a good reason to do so.

Sounds like this would be a good time to have the attorney prepare a comprehensive set of documents so that you can handle your daughter's financial affairs (medicare/medicaid or other state assistance programs), perhaps some long term financial planning for her in a special needs trust, authority to deal with whatever issues remain from the accident (lawsuit? insurance?) as well as her medical decisions. You may want to give some thought to naming an alternate if something should happen to you. I don't know if her father is participating in all this, but his rights will have to be addressed, as well.

I don't know for sure, but suspect that there are some issues relating to the fact that she will be considered an adult on her 18th birthday, and you may no longer be able to automatically act for her legally or medically at that point. Thus, any actions you put in place should contemplate her legal status as an adult.

I'm sorry you are having to deal with all this, when I'm sure you've got your hands full caring for your daughter.

Know that our prayers are with you, and that we'll provide whatever assistance/support we can as you walk through this process.
Thank you Pooh for the additional information. I plan to begin my search for an attorney tomorrow and am compiling a list of questions with information you and Blondie provided. I will also be seriously considering a second conservator in case something happens to me.

Her father knew about her accident but did not make any effort to be by her side. Her step-dad, although legally a stranger helped to provide for her most of her life and continues to do so today.

This has been an extremely difficult year and I thank you for the kind words, prayers and offers of support, they are greatly appreciated.
 

CourtClerk

Senior Member
Ana,

Call your local county court and see if they have a Probate Clinic. My county has one, they will help you through the paperwork, have you see a probate attorney and sign temporary orders until a court date. Many people this way do it pro per all day long.
 

SIN EATER

Member
Ana,
Bear in mind that CA allows indefinite child support for disabled children. You may want to file in Family Law court to extend child support for your daughter's lifetime. Even if you/she do not want it now, it may be valuable to her in the future.

Also, check out California court website's brochures and forms re conservatorship at:
California Courts: Self-Help Center: Seniors: Conservatorship Forms

I think you could do this pro per, with advice and assistance along the way.
Many attorneys (especially in CA) offer 'unbundled' services: they'll charge for snippets of work, instead of being the attorney of record for all issues in the case. When you interview attorneys, ask if they offer such services (basically, assisting you to represent yourself); it would be cheaper, and you can trust that the work was done well. :)

Good luck.
 

BlondiePB

Senior Member
I will also be seriously considering a second conservator in case something happens to me.
Only the court can appoint conservators. A guardian/conservator cannot appoint another person to take over a guardian's/conservator's duties.

Guardians/conservators can do all paperwork (i.e. medicare, medicaid, insurance, legal actions, etc.) on behalf of the ward.
 

BlondiePB

Senior Member
Ana,

Call your local county court and see if they have a Probate Clinic. My county has one, they will help you through the paperwork, have you see a probate attorney and sign temporary orders until a court date. Many people this way do it pro per all day long.
Probate clinic...now, that's really great!
 
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