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Limited Conservatorships For Disabled Adults

Reaching the age of 18 is a milestone for young adults. Overnight, they suddenly have rights and responsibilities they did not have before. Developmentally disabled citizens are entitled to live in dignity, happiness, and useful productivity, but it may be evident that these rights and responsibilities can be more than they are able to understand. These young adults, or even older adults, may be or could become susceptible to the influence of others.

Limited conservatorships are a special type of conservatorship for adults with disabilities. If your child with a developmental or intellectual disability, will soon become an adult or is an adult already, and is a client of a regional center, then he or she may need assistance managing their finances or personal affairs. A limited conservatorship differs from a probate conservatorship because it may give you authority over specific affairs that are necessary in consideration of your child’s abilities. Our attorneys can help you establish a limited conservatorship for your loved one.

As a limited conservator, you may have certain rights to care for your disabled adult child, the conservatee. The court may approve for you to have decision-making authority over some or all of the following responsibilities:

  • Housing
  • Education
  • Access to their confidential records
  • Medical treatment
  • Consent to marriage
  • Sign contracts for the conservatee
  • Consent to social and sexual relationships

Conservatorship Is Made To Fit Their Unique Needs

The scope of your limited conservatorship will be made to fit the child’s special needs. The regional center where your child is already receiving services will assess and prepare a report and recommendation to the court regarding your child’s level of understanding, and ability to make decisions related to those certain rights. A court investigator will also conduct an independent investigation and provide a separate report to the court. In addition, the court will appoint an attorney to represent your son or daughter to ensure they have a voice in the proceedings. The court will then consider all of the available information and determine which rights he or she will retain for themselves, and which rights and responsibilities you will be granted over that individual, depending upon their specific needs.

What Is a limited conservatorship in California?

Everyone deserves a life of dignity and happiness, including those people who may need some help making decisions for themselves. California’s conservatorship laws allow for people to assist those adults who have limited abilities to care for themselves and their assets. A limited conservatorship is designed specifically for adults who have a developmental disability that began before they turned 18. Once a person turns 18, their parents can no longer make legal decisions for them without a conservatorship.

What makes a limited conservatorship different?

Adults who grew up with a developmental disability are not all alike. They are as individual as everyone else. They have talents and skills, as well as struggles and difficulties. A general conservatorship is often neither necessary nor appropriate. That is why California law allows for a “limited” conservatorship for this special group of people. The conservatorship is limited to the areas the conservatee needs help with based on their disability. Such areas may include:

  • Helping them decide where to live
  • Signing contracts on their behalf
  • Helping them decide on education and vocational training
  • Assisting with finances
  • Making decisions about medical treatment

These are only examples and may not apply equally to all conservatees. At the court hearing, the judge will review the reports prepared by the court-appointed attorneys, the regional center and the court investigator and make various decisions including exactly what powers the conservator will have and to what degree. The conservatee will retain the right to make other decisions for themselves.

Who is an appropriate conservator?

With limited conservatorships, parents often petition the court. Parents often know their children best, including their limitations and abilities, making them a natural choice. If a parent is unable or unavailable to act, often other relatives, such as a sibling, will step in.

If you have a child or other loved one with a developmental disability who is about to turn 18, or an adult child, now is the time to look into a limited conservatorship for them. With the right legal guidance, you can help your loved one create a bright and fulfilling future for themselves.

Schedule A Consultation With An Attorney

Our experienced lawyers can advise on the next steps to establish a limited conservatorship for your loved one or family member. Timing is important for limited conservatorships. It is especially important if your child will soon become an adult. We recommend that you contact our office for assistance several months before their 18th birthday. Call our office in Torrance, California, today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys at 424-452-2375, or contact us through our online contact form.