Limited Conservatorship of Person Timeline and Guide, California
These webpages have successfully been used by many people to self file and represent themselves in Probate Court for conservatorship of their intellectual disabled child. There have been no reported problems. The court appearance took about 15 minutes.
General Instructions for Conservatorship Form Webpages (linked below under “Timeline for Form Filling”)The example filled out forms and instructions are filled out for parent(s) filing for conservatorship of their child with disabilities when they reach the age of 18 years old and in this case autism and mental retardation. There will be slight variations in how you fill out the forms if you are a grandparent, sibling, guardian, or other person. The variations will be easy to change depending on your circumstances.
The forms are filled out with what is required in a typical scenario. Each link below will take you to a webpage with an image of each page of the form as it should be filled out with notes below each page that explain or take special notice of aspects of the form page. There will be a link to a pdf of the form already filled out like the example and a blank of the form. The forms are fillable fields that can be changed, so if you use the example you can delete the example name and address and use the one you want or make changes for your particular situation.
On each page of each form is a heading that needs to be filled out by you. The information filled out on the first page should automatically transfer to the appropriate boxes on each heading of each page through that form. Each form will require you to fill out the initial heading.
At the bottom of each webpage of the form will be the form in HTML so that it can be translated into whatever language needed. You will still have to submit the actual form to the court in a language they accept.
Overall the forms are easy to understand. Self-filling them out is more a matter of knowing that all is filled correctly, i's dotted t’s crossed.
Timeline for Form FilingIt is recommended you start conservatorship proceedings by filing at 6-months before the proposed conservatee’s 18th birthday.
Initial FilingGC-310 Petition for Appointment of Probate Conservator
FW-001-GC Request to Waive Court Fees (Ward or Conservatee) (quick look to see if you qualify below)
FW-003-GC Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) (Ward or Conservatee)
GC-340 Order Appointing Probate Conservator
GC-350 Letters of Conservatorship
GC-335 Capacity Declaration- Conservatorship (can be filed with the initial filings or shortly thereafter before the court hearing)- form to be filled out by a medical doctor.
GC-348 Duties of Conservator and Acknowledgment of Receipt of Handbook for Conservators– This can be filed with your initial filing or anytime up to 60 days after the date the court orders of your appointment as conservator(s). There is conflicting information as to when this should be filed.
As Soon as Possible After Your Initial Filing and Before the HearingGC-020 Notice of Hearing Guardianship or Conservatorship
GC-335 Capacity Declaration- Conservatorship (if not filed with the initial filing)
Complete and File Within 60 Days after the Date the Court Orders of Your Appointment as Conservator(s)GC-341 Notice of Conservatee’s Right
GC-355 Determination of Conservatee’s Appropriate Level of Care
P74 General Plan for Personal and Financial Needs of Conservatee- This form may or may not need to be filed depending on your court. The judge will state that it needs to be filed when you receive GC-340 Order Appointing Probate Conservator back
California Court’s Forms Webpage Link: http://www.cc-courts.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.viewPage&pageID=5556&nodeID=3&noheader=1
Quick California Court Fee WavierCalifornia’s court fee waiver is based on the assets and income of the (proposed) conservatee and not the parents. So in the chart below for a disabled child turning 18 years old that is not married it would be a family of one with a monthly income of $1,237.50 or less. Also there is an “or” between each possible qualification not an “and”.
• If you are receiving public benefits, like Medi-Cal, Food Stamps (CalFresh), Cal-Works, General Assistance, SSI, SSP, Tribal TANF, IHHS or CAPI;
• If your household income, before taxes, is less than the amounts listed on Form FW-001-GCin item 8b;
|Family Size||Family Income||Family Size||Family Income||Family Size||Family Income|
|If more than 6 people at home, add $433.34 for each extra person.|
• If the court finds that you do not have enough income to pay for your household's basic needs AND the court fees.
More information on the court fee waiver are on the form webpages:
FW-001-GC Request to waive Court Fees (Ward or Conservatee)
FW-003-GC Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) (Ward or Conservatee)
After the Initial Filing-After the initial filing, the court will appoint an attorney to represent the proposed conservatee. The attorney will meet with the conservatee and review documents. The court appointed attorney will appear in court on behalf of the proposed conservatee and give their assessment of the proposed conservatee to the judge.
-After the initial filing, your regional center will issue a report after being notified by GC-020 Notice of Hearing Guardianship or Conservatorship. You should meet with your social worker and regional center before the report is issued to talk about what will be in the report. Any difference in rights to be retained by the proposed conservatee between the regional centers report and your GC-310 Petition for Appointment of Probate Conservator will have to be reconciled before the conservatorship can be ordered by the judge.
-A court investigator is assigned to the probate conservatorship case.
Court Investigators ReportThe court investigator will interview all involved and do the duties as outlined in the below in probate code 1826. You should receive the court investigators report before the hearing. This is important as the court investigators report will outline any conflicts or problems that need to be resolved before the judge can order conservatorship. You need to review this document carefully. If you have any questions you should discuss them with the court investigator.
One of the interviews the court investigator does is with the proposed conservator(s). It is important to get the court investigator’s name and contact information then.
California Probate Code Section 1826Regardless of whether the proposed conservatee attends the hearing, the court investigator shall do all of the following:
(a) Conduct the following interviews:
(1) The proposed conservatee personally.
(2) All petitioners and all proposed conservators who are not petitioners.
(3) The proposed conservatee's spouse or registered domestic partner and relatives within the first degree.
If the proposed conservatee does not have a spouse, registered domestic partner, or relatives within the first degree, to the greatest extent possible, the proposed conservatee's relatives within the second degree.
(4) To the greatest extent practical and taking into account the proposed conservatee's wishes, the proposed conservatee's relatives within the second degree not required to be interviewed under paragraph (3), neighbors, and, if known, close friends.
(c) Determine whether it appears that the proposed conservatee is unable to attend the hearing and, if able to attend, whether the proposed conservatee is willing to attend the hearing.
(d) Review the allegations of the petition as to why the appointment of the conservator is required and, in making his or her determination, do the following:
(1) Refer to the supplemental information form submitted by the petitioner and consider the facts set forth in the form that address each of the categories specified in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (a) of Section 1821.
(2) Consider, to the extent practicable, whether he or she believes the proposed conservatee suffers from any of the mental function deficits listed in subdivision (a) of Section 811 that significantly impairs the proposed conservatee's ability to understand and appreciate the consequences of his or her actions in connection with any of the functions described in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 1801 and identify the observations that support that belief.
(f) Determine whether the proposed conservatee objects to the proposed conservator or prefers another person to act as conservator.
(g) Determine whether the proposed conservatee wishes to be represented by legal counsel and, if so, whether the proposed conservatee has retained legal counsel and, if not, the name of an attorney the proposed conservatee wishes to retain.
(h) Determine whether the proposed conservatee is capable of completing an affidavit of voter registration.
(i) If the proposed conservatee has not retained legal counsel, determine whether the proposed conservatee desires the court to appoint legal counsel.
(j) Determine whether the appointment of legal counsel would be helpful to the resolution of the matter or is necessary to protect the interests of the proposed conservatee in any case where the proposed conservatee does not plan to retain legal counsel and has not requested the appointment of legal counsel by the court.
(k) Report to the court in writing, at least five days before the hearing, concerning all of the foregoing, including the proposed conservatee's express communications concerning both of the following:
(1) Representation by legal counsel.
(2) Whether the proposed conservatee is not willing to attend the hearing, does not wish to contest the establishment of the conservatorship, and does not object to the proposed conservator or prefer that another person act as conservator.
(1) The attorney, if any, for the petitioner.
(2) The attorney, if any, for the proposed conservatee.
(3) The proposed conservatee.
(4) The spouse, registered domestic partner, and relatives within the first degree of the proposed conservatee who are required to be named in the petition for appointment of the conservator, unless the court determines that the mailing will result in harm to the conservatee.
(5) Any other persons as the court orders.
(n) The report required by this section is confidential and shall be made available only to parties, persons described in subdivision (l), persons given notice of the petition who have requested this report or who have appeared in the proceedings, their attorneys, and the court. The court has discretion at any other time to release the report, if it would serve the interests of the conservatee. The clerk of the court shall provide for the limitation of the report exclusively to persons entitled to its receipt.
(o) This section does not apply to a proposed conservatee who has personally executed the petition for conservatorship, or one who has nominated his or her own conservator, if he or she attends the hearing. (p) If the court investigator has performed an investigation within the preceding six months and furnished a report thereon to the court, the court may order, upon good cause shown, that another investigation is not necessary or that a more limited investigation may be performed.
(q) Any investigation by the court investigator related to a temporary conservatorship also may be a part of the investigation for the general petition for conservatorship, but the court investigator shall make a second visit to the proposed conservatee and the report required by this section shall include the effect of the temporary conservatorship on the proposed conservatee.
(r) The Judicial Council shall, on or before January 1, 2009, adopt rules of court and Judicial Council forms as necessary to implement an expedited procedure to authorize, by court order, a proposed conservatee's health care provider to disclose confidential medical information about the proposed conservatee to a court investigator pursuant to federal medical information privacy regulations promulgated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
(s) A superior court shall not be required to perform any duties imposed pursuant to the amendments to this section enacted by Chapter 493 of the Statutes 2006 until the Legislature makes an appropriation identified for this purpose.
The Court Hearing for Conservatorship of the Proposed ConservateeWhat will happen at the hearing when your case is called before the judge is spelled out in Probate Code 1825.5 below.
Initial by you will be asked to watch a video about conservatorship.
During the hearing the attorney appointed for your proposed conservatee will be asked about their findings and opinions about the conservatee’s capacity to exercise their rights.
If there is a conflict you should explain to the court why you feel the way you do about whether your proposed conservatee should retain a right or not. If your request and explanation is deemed reasonable the judge will probably rule in your favor. Remember you have every right to withdraw your willingness to be the conservator(s) under the conditions set forth by the court.
California Probate Code 1825.5
1828.5. (a) At the hearing on the petition for appointment of a limited conservator for an allegedly developmentally disabled adult, the court shall do each of the following:
(1) Inquire into the nature and extent of the general intellectual functioning of the individual alleged to be developmentally disabled.
(2) Evaluate the extent of the impairment of his or her adaptive behavior.
(3) Ascertain his or her capacity to care for himself or herself and his or her property.
(4) Inquire into the qualifications, abilities, and capabilities of the person seeking appointment as limited conservator.
(5) If a report by the regional center, in accordance with Section 1827.5, has not been filed in court because the proposed limited conservatee withheld his or her consent to assessment by the regional center, the court shall determine the reason for withholding such consent.
(c) If the court finds that the proposed limited conservatee lacks the capacity to perform some, but not all, of the tasks necessary to provide properly for his or her own personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter, or to manage his or her own financial resources, the court shall appoint a limited conservator for the person or the estate or the person and the estate.
(d) If the court finds that the proposed limited conservatee lacks the capacity to perform all of the tasks necessary to provide properly for his or her own personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter, or to manage his or her own financial resources, the court shall appoint either a conservator or a limited conservator for the person or the estate, or the person and the estate.
(e) The court shall define the powers and duties of the limited conservator so as to permit the developmentally disabled adult to care for himself or herself or to manage his or her financial resources commensurate with his or her ability to do so.
(f) Prior to the appointment of a limited conservator for the person or estate or person and estate of a developmentally disabled adult, the court shall inform the proposed limited conservatee of the nature and purpose of the limited conservatorship proceeding, that the appointment of a limited conservator for his or her person or estate or person and estate will result in the transfer of certain rights set forth in the petition and the effect of such transfer, the identity of the person who has been nominated as his or her limited conservator, that he or she has a right to oppose such proceeding, and that he or she has a right to have the matter tried by jury. After communicating such information to the person and prior to the appointment of a limited conservator, the court shall consult the person to determine his or her opinion concerning the appointment.
After the Court HearingYou will receive in the mail the judge’s order GC-340 Order Appointing Probate Conservator and GC-350 Letters of Conservatorship if your request for conservatorship has gone through. If for some reason you do not receive GC-350 Letters of Conservatorship, you need to read GC-340 Order Appointing Probate Conservator carefully. It will explain what further steps need to be taken, or why the petition for conservatorship was denied or another person was appointed as conservator. Again you can ask the court investigator that was assigned to the conservatorship any follow up questions.
After you have been Appointed Conservator(s)You need to complete and file the court forms listed in “File Within 60 Days after the Date the Court Orders of Your Appointment as Conservator(s)” above. If you do not, you will have to appear in court and explain why.
You most likely will be asked to attend a “being a conservator” class within 6 months of being appointed conservator(s). There are two sections to “being a conservator” class, one on person and one on estate. If you are only the conservator(s) of person, you will only have to attend that class. Names and signatures of attendees will be collected during the class and given to the court later as proof of fulfillment.
A court investigator is supposed to visit the conservator(s) and conservatee once a year. Court investigators are usually understaffed so there is a good chance that you may go years without a visit from a court investigator especially if the conservatee’s court fees have been waved. The court usually charges a court fee for each visit of the court investigator.
Usually with children with autism and disabilities that need to be conserved there are social workers involved that are required to visit the conservatee once a year. This is usually not the case with senior citizens which make the bulk of people under conservatorship. A visit once a year by the court investigators of people not born with disabilities and who would otherwise not have a visit by a neutral party as to their conditions is probably more important.
There is a yearly status report that needs to be filed. I will tackle that at a future date.