Growing older isn’t for the faint of heart. Aging eventually takes a toll on both the human body and the brain. It can be difficult to watch the physical and cognitive decline that occurs as your parents enter the golden years of life.

Someone who was once fiercely independent and clever can eventually find themselves struggling to remember what year it is and failing to adequately care for themselves due to cognitive decline or physical limitations.

At some point, for those struggling with memory or executive dysfunction, maintaining control over their own finances may no longer be the best option. Someone in better health could potentially need to step in to a conservator role to manage the finances and legal decisions for an older adult no longer capable of full independence.

How does a conservatorship work?

If you hope to seek a general conservatorship over an older adult family member, such as a parent, who was previously capable of managing their own affairs, you will typically need some kind of documentation that shows cognitive decline or a history of difficulty meeting their own needs.

Statements showing that bills have gone unpaid or medical records that include a diagnosis with a condition such as Alzheimer’s disease may be enough to convince the California courts to approve a general conservatorship.

As a conservator, you will have access to your loved one’s finances and the ability to make important transactions and decisions on their behalf. You will also have a fiduciary duty to make decisions that are in their best interests, not your own. A conservatorship can help you protect your loved one when they can no longer manage all of their affairs for themselves