Limited Conservatorships

A limited conservatorship is specifically designed for a developmentally disabled child transitioning into adulthood. Once the disabled child reaches the age of 18, his or her parents are no longer able to make personal and financial decisions for her and therefore may seek a limited conservatorship of the estate and/or person. Parents can set up a limited conservatorship to protect their developmentally disabled child and assist with personal affairs and financial matters. This can be filed before the proposed conservatee’s 18th birthday.

There are different reasons why a family member may seek a limited conservatorship. It may be that a parent has run into problems at a group home where their adult child resides. It may also be because a parent encounters difficulties with the school district once the child turns 18 years old and gains the power to make his or her own educational decisions. Another example could be a situation where a health care decision must be made on behalf of the developmentally disabled adult and medical personnel question a parent’s authority once a child has legally become an adult.

The court appoints independent counsel to represent the rights of the proposed limited conservatee and the Regional Center provides an assessment and report to the court prior to the hearing. The Superior Court Probate Department will oversee the limited conservator once it is put in place.

Because a developmentally disabled individual 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).
• Look at the conservatee’s adult confidential records and papers.
• Sign a contract for the conservatee.
• Give or withhold consent for most medical treatment (NOT sterilization and certain other procedures).
• Make decisions about the conservatee’s education and vocational training.
• Place the conservatee at a state hospital for the developmentally disabled
• Control the conservatee’s social and sexual contacts and relationships.
• Manage the conservatee’s financial affairs.

If you are the parent, sibling, or other interested party for a person who may need a limited conservatorship, talking with an experienced lawyer is the most effective way to determine whether a conservatorship is needed. Moore Law for Children can assist you during this transition of a disabled child into adulthood. Please call us to schedule a time we can talk about a limited conservatorship for your loved one.


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