Schmiesing, Blied, Stoddart & Mackey

Guardianship and conservatorship:

Estates & Trusts

Compassionate Help in Caring for Loved Ones

Caring for loved ones who are not capable of caring for themselves is a delicate family issue. At Schmiesing, Blied, Stoddart & Mackey, our lawyers treat the issues of guardianship and conservatorship with the delicacy and respect they require.

When you need help establishing a formal legal relationship to ensure an elderly family member, an ill person or a child is properly cared for, contact us at our main office in Santa Ana, California.

Taking Responsibility for an Incapacitated Person

Conservatorship is a legal relationship created by the court in which one person is appointed to care for the affairs of another who is suffering from diminished capacity.

A conservatorship is frequently, but not exclusively, a matter of elder law: it can serve as means of protecting from abuse individuals who — due to age and illness — lack the ability to fully care for themselves.

The court may establish a conservatorship over the person, giving the conservator responsibility for the physical care, health care and custody of the ward, and/or over the estate, giving the conservator the responsibility of managing the ward's finances.

Ideally, a person who is concerned about eventual loss of capacity could use the mechanism of a trust and/or power of attorney to avoid conservatorship, which is imposed by and subject to the oversight of the court.

A conservatorship can also be established over someone who is suffering from mental illness, drug abuse or some other incapacitating factor. Contact us to learn more about the criteria for a conservatorship and the process involved.

Ensuring Care for Children and Their Finances

In California, guardianship is the legal relationship between a minor child (person under 18) and a guardian who has been appointed to ensure that the child is cared for. It is similar to conservatorship in many respects.

These days, many grandparents are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren, and similar relationships exist between other family members and children. Guardianship legally formalizes the caregiving responsibility that has been taken on without completing a full-blown adoption.

If a child inherits a large amount of money that is not administered through a trust, the situation may also necessitate a guardianship to oversee those assets until the child reaches adulthood.