Your parents have always been put together and independent. However, as time passes and you notice them becoming forgetful or unable to handle their day-to-day affairs, you are unsure of how to proceed as their mental states begin to deteriorate. Should they be conserved?
Generally, the legal definition of capacity is the mental ability to adequately function. In California, the Probate Code allows a court to appoint a conservator of the person for a person who is unable to provide properly for his or her personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter; a conservator of the estate for a person who is substantially unable to manage his or her own financial resources or resist fraud or undue influence; or a conservator of the person and estate for a person described in both of the previous categories.
If a conservator is appointed, he will be responsible for managing your parent’s affairs. The conservator does not have to be a family member, although it often is. Once appointed, the conservator will owe a duty of care to your parent and will be held accountable by the court.
There are other options, however, if conservatorship is too extreme. Sometimes, elderly parents realize they need assistance and ask for it. In this scenario, families can avoid the expense and emotional turmoil of having a parent conserved and family members can assist parents with their finances or hire a professional. Other options include creating a durable power of attorney for property or a living trust. These documents generally appoint an agent or trustee to manage your parent’s financial affairs.
If you are interested in learning more about ensuring your parents are able to manage their day-to-day lives as they grow older, please contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Lonich Patton Erlich Policastri for further information. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.