Disabled Adult Children and Conservatorship / by Cassandra Hearn

Parents work hard to protect, teach, and raise their children. From the time the child is born until he or she turns eighteen, parents are responsible for the child’s emotional and physical well-being. After the child becomes an adult, the child will use the lessons learned from their parents to become independent and start making his or her own life decisions. In some situations, however, it may not be possible for a child to ever become fully independent due to mental or physical incapacity. In such a case, parents can seek to be named the conservator of the child once the child reaches the age of eighteen.

A conservator is a person who is appointed by the court to take care of the financial and personal care decisions of the disabled adult, who is referred to as the “conservatee.” In some situations, there may be two separate types of conservators. One is called the conservator of the person, who would be in charge of overseeing the personal affairs of the conservatee. The other is called the conservator of the estate, and that person is in charge of the financial affairs of the conservatee. Most often, the conservator named is both the conservator of the person and the conservator of the estate.

The primary point of obtaining conservatorship over a disabled adult is to make sure that his or her needs are taken care of. A conservator will have the power to take necessary actions for the conservatee, such as: conveying property, entering into contracts, and consenting to medical care. For adults who are completely unable to make their own decisions or provide for their own personal care, a general conservatorship can transfer all of these types of duties and rights to the conservator. If a court determines that a conservatee has the capacity to perform certain actions him or herself, the court order can be tailored to make sure that the conservatee retains those powers. This is called a “limited conservatorship.”

To become a conservator, it is necessary to file a petition with the court. The proposed conservatee will need to be served notice of the action, as will his or her family members. The judge will decide at a court hearing whether the conservatorship is appropriate and necessary.

If you have questions about your adult disabled child and what you can do to make sure they are protected, call us today. We have experience with all types of family issues and can help you.  Please call us at 619-800-0384 for a confidential consultation