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By: Cava and Faulkner

Does a Conservatorship Have More Legal Authority Than a Power of Attorney?

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A power of attorney is typically set in place when an individual is considered to have a sound mind. The individual makes a voluntary decision to assign an “agent” to handle their healthcare or financial affairs for them. A power of attorney can be revoked at the creator’s discretion without having to ask or inform the agent of their decision.

However, a conservatorship has a much broader legal scope in terms of the law. A conservator is appointed by a court to oversee and run an individual‘s affairs if they are mentally incompetent or in any other way unable to do it for themselves. The individual who is under the conservatorship is known as a “ward” and does not have the legal ability to revoke the conservatorship on their own.

If a power of attorney and a conservatorship conflict for any reason, the conservatorship will take legal precedence. If you would like to know more information about a power of attorney or conservatorship, contact the law offices of Cava and Faulkner and ask to schedule a free consultation.

Why Does the Court Assign Conservatorship?

A court will assign a conservator to oversee and manage the affairs of a ward if that person has been deemed to be mentally incompetent or unable to do it for themselves. In most cases, the court will grant the conservator the ability to control designated aspects of the ward’s personal life.

Routinely, conservators are assigned to control the financial dealings of the ward because they have demonstrated an inability to do so for themselves. In some instances, the ward has been subject to undue influence from others who do not have their best interests at heart.

How Can I End a Conservatorship in California?

The only way to terminate a conservatorship in California is to go to court and have the matter decided by a judge. The following is a basic outline of the steps that you must take in order to file a petition with the court:

  • Hire an attorney who will help you prepare the Petition to Terminate Conservatorship
  • Submit the Petition to the county court in the county in which the conservator resides
  • Attend the hearing with your legal representative

If the Petition is not opposed in court, the judge will most likely grant the Petition, thereby ending the conservatorship. Of course, the ward must be able to demonstrate that they can successfully handle their own affairs. If an objection is raised, you will have to go through legal proceedings in order to convince the court that the conservatorship should be terminated.

What is Conservatorship Abuse?

Sadly, abuse in conservatorships is not uncommon. Since most conservators oversee the financial affairs of the ward that they are assigned to manage, embezzlement and fraud seem to be the most common forms of abuse. The conservator owes a fiduciary obligation to the ward they oversee. If you suspect financial abuse, you must immediately speak with an attorney.

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

If you feel that you or a loved one is being financially abused or suffering any other type of abuse from your conservator in any other manner, you need to seek help immediately. A skilled attorney can begin the legal process to have the conservatorship revoked if the ward’s best interests are not being met. Contact Cava and Faulkner of Elk Grove, CA, by calling 916-685-1225 and asking to schedule a free consultation as soon as possible.