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Berkeley, CA Estate Planning AttorneyWhen a child’s parents die or become unable to provide the necessary care, guardianship will allow another person to step in and ensure that the child is provided for. However, children are not the only ones who may need this sort of care and supervision. Adults who are unable to fully care for themselves, including people who are developmentally disabled or seniors who no longer have the capacity to meet their own needs, can benefit from a form of guardianship known as conservatorship. A limited conservatorship will often be appropriate for these types of individuals, and people who are involved in these types of cases will need to understand their rights and the procedures that will be followed.

Types of Conservatorship

As with guardianship, a person may be named a conservator of the person or a conservator of the estate. A conservator of the person will be responsible for making sure the conservatee has the necessary food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. A conservator of the estate will be responsible for managing the conservatee’s assets and finances, including collecting income or benefits on their behalf and paying any necessary bills or expenses.

While there may be some cases where a conservator will have complete control over a conservatee’s person or estate, most of the time, courts prefer to establish a limited conservatorship. This will ensure that the conservator will provide the necessary assistance for the conservatee, while providing the conservatee with control over the aspects of their life that they are able to manage. This protects the conservatee’s rights, allowing them to make decisions for themselves while also offering the reassurance that a person who cares about them will make sure their needs are being met.

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San Francisco estate planning attorneyAlthough it can be unsettling to think about the future and what will happen upon your death, it is necessary to ensure your wishes are carried out. Estate planning can help prevent disputes among your family members after you pass away or in the event you become incapacitated. Guardianship is when a court awards someone other than the child’s parent to have custody of the child, manage the child’s property (estate), or do both. Naming a guardian in your will can avoid uncertainty surrounding who will care for your minor children if you are involved in a sudden or unexpected accident that leaves them without a parent to make decisions on their behalf. It is important to note that if your children’s other parent is still alive and has parental rights, he or she must consent to your nomination of the guardian. 

Keeping Your Children’s Best Interests in Mind

There are several factors that you should consider when deciding who to appoint as your children’s guardian upon your death. First and foremost, this is not a decision to take lightly. The guardian should be someone you know and trust. Make sure the person you nominate is willing and able to take care of your children. It also helps if the person already has a strong bond or relationship with them. In most situations, a close relative or friend of the family might be the best choice, as long as he or she makes decisions that are based on the children’s well-being. There are two types of guardians, one of the person and one of the estate. Depending on personal preference, the same individual can be appointed as guardian of the person and the estate, or separate guardians can be nominated for each.

Guardianship of the Person

In a guardianship of the person, the guardian has the same responsibilities as a parent in terms of care for the minor children. In the state of California, this means he or she has full legal and physical custody of the children and can make all the decisions about their care, including the children’s:

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