MATTHEW W. HARRIS, ESQ. LL.M

(Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law)

 

 

Marin County Conservatorship Attorney 

Conservatorship

Marin Conservatorship Attorney

In a Marin conservatorship matter, the Superior Court (probate court) has the power to issue a protective order appointing a competent adult (called a conservator) to assist another usually frail adult (called a conservatee) with his or her physical and medical needs (conservator of the person) or financial affairs (conservator of the estate).

 Conservator of the Estate

Matthew W. Harris, a Contra Costa  conservatorship lawyer in San Rafael defines a conservator of the ESTATE as one who serves as a fiduciary who generally handles the conservatee’s finances, assets, monthly bills, investments, and renders accountings to the Sonoma or San Francisco Conservatorship court, and to the conservatee, for the conservator’s management of the conservatee’s estate.

Conservator of the Person

Matthew W. Harris, a San Francisco County conservatorship attorney defines a conservator of the PERSON as one who arranges for the conservatee’s personal care, clothing, meals, healthcare, recreation and transportation needs. If you or a loved one is in need of a San Francisco County conservatorship of the person or estate or both, call the Law Office of Matthew W. Harris, a San Francisco conservatorship attorney, today at his Marin County conservatorship office in San Rafael at (415) 521-5610.

Temporary Conservatorship 

A temporary conservatorship of the person or estate, or both, occurs when an emergency arises involving a frail person that must be dealt with immediately, not later.   The proposed conservator files a petition for temporary conservatorship in court for the authority to take immediate action and control over the frail person, the conservatee.  The job of the temporary conservator is to provide for the temporary maintenance, care and support of the conservatee.   Because of the urgent nature and immediacy of the temporary conservatorship, the probate conservatorship court demand that the conservator of the person and estate prove by “clear and convincing” evidence of good cause to appoint the temporary conservatorship.  If the conservatorship court grants the petition for temporary conservatorship, the temporary conservator’s powers generally last for approximately 30 days pending the hearing on the permanent conservatorship in conservatorship court. During this temporary conservatorship period, the conservator does not have the absolute right to dictate where and how the conservatee is to live.  In fact, the conservatee must demonstrate to the court that the conservatee’s residence is the “least restrictive Court alternative that is available to meet his or her needs.

Marin Conservatorship attorney

WHY TO AVOID A CONSERVATORSHIP

The most common reasons to avoid a conservatorship are as follows:

(1)  A conservatorship is a lengthy court process which can last for several years, even decades.

(2) Certain Conservatorship documents filed with the court are  open for public viewing; meaning that family, financial and some medical information are available for the world to see.

(3)  A conservatorship matter can be physically and emotionally taxing, and embarrassing  for individuals, especially the elderly.

(4) A conservatorship can be expensive due to attorneys fees, conservator fees, accounting fees, professional fiduciary fees, court fees, recording fees, court-investigator fees, appraisal fees, storage fees and maintenance fees, etc.

LEAST RESTRICTIVE MEANS

A conservatorship by its very nature is restrictive on the conservatee.  In fact, a conservatorship is the most restrictive form of surrogate decision making.  Under California law, a probate court must consider less restrictive alternatives prior to instituting a conervatorship of the person or conservatorship of the estate.  Usually a conservatorship is pursued because the conservatee did not create his or her estate plan prior to becoming incapacitated.  Obviously, an estate plan such as a will, revocable living trust, advance health care directive and power of attorney would be a less restrictive alternative to a conservatorship.  First, the advance health care directive would circumvent the imposition of a conservatorship of the person since this document could be used to govern the elder or dependent adults medical care and treatment, and provide for food clothing and shelter.  Second, a durable power of attorney could circumvent the imposition of a conservatorship of the estate since this document could be used to control the elder or dependent adults fiances.  Third, a revocable living trust would govern the elder or dependent’s assets both during incapacity and after his or her death.  In short, the revocable living trust could avoid both a conservatorship and probate and also be used by the court as a less restrictive alternative to a conservatorship.

CONSERVATOR AND ATTORNEYS FEES

Conservator Compensation.

The compensation to the conservator of the person or estate or both for services rendered is limited to what the court considers “just and reasonable” under the circumstances. To be compensable from the conservatorship estate, either the conservator’s services must benefit the conservatee, or the conservator must have had a good faith belief that they would be in the best interest of the conservatee and the belief was objectively reasonable.  In other words, services that benefit only the conservator will not be compensated.

Unlike probate, the conservator is not entitled to a statutory fee computed as a percentage of the value of the estate being administered, although the size of the conservatee’s estate is one factor that a court may consider in determining the reasonableness of the fee.

 

Attorney Compensation.

The compensation to the attorney for the conservator of the person or estate or both for services rendered is usually billed at the attorney’s normal hourly billing rate.

Unlike probate, the attorney for the conservator is not entitled to a statutory fee computed as a percentage of the value of the estate being administered , although the size of the conservatee’s estate is one factor that a court may consider in determining the reasonableness of the fee.

Matthew W. Harris strives to keep costs and rates reasonable in order to keep legal assistance to his conservatorship clients affordable.  Mr. Harris’ office is located at 55 Mitchell, Suite 15, San Rafael, CA at  (415) 521-5610.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER:

 The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.  This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, in any way an attorney-client relationship.  Matthew W. Harris, Esq., LL.M  is a California lawyer in good standing with the State Bar of California.  Matthew W. Harris is admitted to practice only in California.  Mr. Harris is not licensed to practice in any other jurisdiction.