Limited Conservatorship

AFRICA~1Limited conservatorships are set up to assist developmentally disabled adults who are unable to provide for all their personal or financial needs. A limited conservator is most often one or both of the parents of the developmentally disabled adult. If a parent is not available, a brother or sister of the developmentally disabled adult is the second most often appointed limited conservator. However, any responsible adult can act as a limited conservator. And, there can be more than one limited conservator, but except for parents, we usually don’t recommend co-conservators. A limited conservator’s duty is to help the limited conservatee develop maximum self-reliance and independence.

When you petition to establish a limited conservatorship, the court will appoint an attorney to represent the proposed conservatee. There will also be a probate investigator assigned to the case to gather information for the court. Finally, the Regional Center may be contacted to provide a report containing information about the developmentally disabled adult and any services being provided by the Regional Center.

At the hearing, the judge will rule on what powers will be granted to the limited conservator. Because developmentally disabled persons can usually do many things on their own, the judge will only give the limited conservator power to do things the conservatee cannot do without help.

The conservator may:

  • Decide where the conservatee will live (but, NOT in a locked facility)
  • Manage the conservatee’s social affairs
  • Manage the conservatee’s financial affairs
  • Examine the conservatee’s confidential records and papers
  • Sihn a contract for the conservatee
  • Give or withhold consent for most medical treatments
  • Make decisions regarding education and vocational training
  • Give or withhold consent to the conservatee’s marriage
  • Control the conservatee’s social and sexual contacts and relationships

If you are trying to establish a limited conservatorship for someone who will soon turn eighteen, it’s a good idea to start the process at least 45 to 60 days before the developmental disabled person’s eighteen birthday. The proposed limited conservators should talk to the proposed conservatee and his or her counselors, teachers and social workers so he or she knows what is best for the proposed conservatee’s medical care, living arrangements, education and training.

You do not have to establish a limited conservatorship. However, if there is no conservatorship in place the Director of the developmentally disabled person’s Regional Center has the power to make most legal decisions for him or her. For example, the Regional Center can make medical decisions and choose where the developmentally disabled adult lives. The Regional Center is a non-profit organization supervised by the Department of Developmental Services. If there is an emergency and there is no limited conservatorship in place, the Director of the Regional Center will make emergency decisions for the developmentally disabled adult. Or the Court may appoint a temporary limited conservator to handle the emergency need. To avoid the frantic nature of these proceedings, it is generally best to petition to establish the limited conservatorship before an emergency need arises.