All parents worry about their children’s futures. If you are a parent of a child with disabilities, those worries can multiply. What can you do to support them – especially as they approach the age of 18 and become a legal adult?
One option you may hear of is a limited conservatorship. However, it is important to understand the details of establishing this kind of conservatorship before considering this option.
Details about the limited conservatorship
A limited conservatorship is specifically meant to aid adults with developmental disabilities. They give a conservator – most often a parent – certain decision-making rights to help the conservatee manage financial or personal matters.
They provide seven particular rights to limited conservators in these cases, which include the ability to make decisions regarding:
- Where the conservatee lives
- The conservatee’s education
- What medical treatment the conservatee receives
- Access to personal records
- The conservatee’s social or sexual relationships
- Whether the conservatee can get married
- If the conservatee can enter into a contract
A limited conservatorship is not designed to control your child’s life. It actually aims to support your child’s independence as much as possible once they become a legal adult. As a limited conservator, you would simply retain the legal ability to assist them and make certain decisions on their behalf.
What to know about the process
The process of establishing a limited conservatorship is involved, and you can discuss the particulars with an attorney to learn more. However, here are some of the most critical things to understand about this process:
- The court hearing: A hearing is necessary to determine if a conservatorship is appropriate. You must petition the court to begin the process. Your child will also require legal representation to ensure they have a voice in the process.
- Granting the conservatorship: It is essential to understand that the judge will only grant a limited conservatorship if the less restrictive options do not work. Therefore, you must make sure you consider all of the options available to support your child with disabilities as they turn 18.
- Specific conservator rights: We listed the seven rights a limited conservator has in these cases above. However, the judge will consider each one carefully to determine which ones are necessary. This ensures that a limited conservatorship promotes independence while meeting the child’s needs.
California law differs from many other states by allowing such arrangements. The goal is to protect your child’s needs and interests, even when they become adults. So, you must consider all of your options to do this. The best time to consider whether a limited conservatorship is appropriate is when your child with intellectual disabilities reaches age 17 1/2.