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Most conservatorships start in a similar fashion. A concerned person notices that a friend, family member or neighbor appears to be having trouble with the basic requirements of daily living or has become subject to fraud or undue influence. The concerned person may have tried to intervene, only to be rebuffed. Or the concerned person may have been prevented from intervening by another person, a person with dubious motives. Eventually, the concerned person calls an attorney for advice. Usually, the attorney advises the concerned person about conservatorships.

A conservatorship is a court-supervised relationship between an incapacitated person and one who is appointed to look after that person’s needs. Conservators are appointed only after the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the conservatee is unable to properly provide for his or her personal needs, to manage financial resources or to resist fraud or undue influence. Seeking a conservatorship can be expensive, time consuming and embarrassing to the troubled person, but sometimes nothing short of a conservatorship will do.

At HARTOG, BAER & HAND, we help clients explore alternatives to conservatorships and when no reasonable alternative can be found, we help clients obtain conservatorships. In some cases, we represent parties objecting to a conservatorship. We also represent both professional and non-professional conservators once a conservatorship has been established.

Margaret M. Hand is the author of two chapters in California Conservatorship Practice (2008, Continuing Education of the Bar).

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