Assuming control over the financial and legal decisions for an adult with a disability or an acquired condition like Alzheimer’s that prevents them from making decisions on their own comes with a lot of responsibility. Not only do you have to maintain all of your own household needs, but you will also need to monitor and manage the finances and life of another person.
You may be willing to perform these often thankless services, especially if the person under the conservatorship is a member of your family, such as a sibling with a developmental disability. Regardless of how well you do your job as the conservator, the state of California will check in on you.
The goal is to ensure that you fulfill your obligations and don’t behave in a way that puts your needs above those of the person you should protect. The California probate courts do routine reviews of conservatorships, even those that have been in place for years.
Perhaps the most stressful review of your role as the conservator will come after the first 12 months that you have performed these duties for your loved one. The California courts try to review conservatorship after the first year to ensure that everything receives proper oversight.
You will need to present documentation to the court showing what steps you took on behalf of the other party and possibly even provide in-depth financial records. Since the state will review the work you do, it is very important that you keep careful records so that there aren’t any questionable transactions that could give rise to questions about your intentions or ability to fulfill your fiduciary duty.
After the initial review, you will still be subject to state scrutiny. You can expect that the courts will review the conservatorship every two years, caseload permitting. There can also be circumstances in which the person subject to the conservatorship or other people who care for them may ask the courts to review the conservatorship or challenge your position. Documentation of financial transactions and other efforts you make will help you defend your position if a challenge arises.