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Pros and cons of an adult conservatorship in California

In some instances, legal adults lose or never achieve the ability to care for themselves sufficiently. That leads those who love them to consider an adult guardianship, which is called a conservatorship in California. This form of protection for a person with limited abilities for self care comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, all of which deserve careful consideration before pursuing conservatorship for an individual in need.

The primary advantages of conservatorship are the peace of mind it can bring to those who love the individual in need and the legal framework it provides for making sometimes difficult or controversial decisions for the individual receiving care. Family members can take comfort in knowing that their loved one has astute guidance in personal and legal matters, especially when it comes to dealing with third parties and complex financial decisions.

However, not all individuals who need help are ready to receive it, and not all family and loved ones of those who need help agree on what that help should entail and who should provide it. For instance, if an elderly person is still relatively healthy but in mental decline, or vice versa, it may be difficult for them to give up their independence in their own best interests.

Similarly, if the family of a person needing assistance cannot agree on who should be the conservator and what his or her duties and privileges include, infighting between those with a vested interest in the matter can create more complications than the circumstances that lead them to this point in the first place.

If you or someone you love is considering a conservatorship, be sure to carefully weigh all your legal options before moving forward. Professional legal counsel can help you understand the full scope of the legal issue at hand and ensure that you understand the options you have to protect and care for your loved one in need.

Source:, "How an Adult Guardianship, or Conservatorship, Works," Joseph L. Matthews, accessed March 16, 2018

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