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Two things every conservator must know

Watching as loved ones struggle with their health can be a challenge. However, it can be dangerous when loved ones can no longer fulfill their basic needs. In these cases, it might be necessary for families to consider establishing a conservatorship to ensure their loved one gets the care they need.

California law favors family members to act as conservators on behalf of their loved ones, such as spouses or children. But regardless of who is chosen as a conservator, there are a few things they must consider to help them be a reliable conservator.

1. Planning is critical 

A conservatorship allows someone to make decisions on behalf of another and arrange their care if they cannot do so themselves. This position is not as easy as it sounds. In fact, it is often a stressful job that involves enormous responsibility. They must make decisions on behalf of their loved one regarding:

  • Where they live and housekeeping issues
  • Any health and personal care matters
  • What medical treatment they should receive
  • What they should eat
  • How to manage their money
  • How to provide them comfort and care

Conservators must make a plan for how they will carry out these decisions and care for the conservatee. Creating a detailed but flexible plan can help individuals prepare themselves for taking on their duties as a conservator. The Judicial Council of California also provides a handbook to assist conservators.

2. You must act in good faith

Many people have heard the phrase "acting in good faith," but what does it mean?

In a conservatorship, it means:

  • Respecting the conservatee and their needs
  • Prioritizing the conservatee's best interests
  • Acting with the best intentions on their behalf

When conservators act in good faith, they carefully consider the conservatee's needs and how they would approach the situation to make an informed decision. It is not easy to make a decision for someone else. But placing their best interests first can help conservators stay faithful to that individual's needs.

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