Is a conservatorship right for your family? Usually the answer is no.
Conservatorships are drastic, expensive, and stir up controversy, and yet most of the time they could have been avoided with some advance planning.
Let’s review the cons of a conservatorship.
Loss of Rights: When a court orders a conservatorship, it takes away rights of the conservatee. These include the right to make medical treatment decisions, the right to make financial decisions, the right to drive a car, and the right to vote. Loss of these rights by court order may be psychologically devastating to the conservatee, particularly when in a fragile mental state to begin with.
Loss of Privacy: Conservatorships proceedings are public records. The incapacity of a parent, the responses of family members and the documentation filed in court is open to review by the public. Granted that the actual details of the conservatee’s medical and psychiatric condition are under seal, but enough information is open for review to make the process uncomfortable or worse for those involved.
Expense: Conservatorships are expensive. The attorneys fees involved can be more than the fees for a probate. Because of the potential termination of fundamental rights, the conservatorship process is complex and technical. The court does not issue the order lightly. Fees are correspondingly high. Not only are the fees high for the Conservator’s attorney , but it is common for the court to appoint an attorney to represent the Conservatee, who is then paid out of the Conservatee’s estate. Any family member who wants to have a say in the process may also need to hire his or her own attorney. If there are any disagreements, such as about the treatment of the Conservatee, the living arrangements, the financial arrangements, the fees will increase dramatically, to say the least.
Multiple Parties: In addition to multiple attorneys, multiple conservators may be required. The courts will make an order for a conservatorship of the person and/or the estate. The same person can be appointed in both capacities, but it is not unusual for two different people to be appointed, and this may require separate attorneys representing each Conservator.
Stay tuned for Part 2, More Disadvantages, and Part 3, Advantages of a Conservatorship.
You can contact an attorney at the Law Office of Roger Billings at (916) 786-8706, or by clicking here.