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Should I Get a Conservatorship for My Child with Special Needs?

Should I Get a Conservatorship for My Child with Special Needs?

A conservatorship is a legal arrangement in California in which a court appoints an individual or organization to manage the financial, legal, and medical decisions of a person who is unable to do so themselves. This can be particularly beneficial for children with disabilities, as it ensures that their best interests are protected and that they receive the care and support they need.

The Benefits of a Conservatorship

One of the main benefits of a conservatorship in California is that it allows for the appointment of a responsible and trustworthy person to manage the child's financial affairs. This can include things like managing their bank accounts, paying their bills, and handling any investments they may have. This is especially important for children with disabilities, as they may not have the capacity to make these decisions themselves.

Another benefit of a conservatorship is that it allows for the appointment of a legal guardian. This person is responsible for making decisions about the child's education, healthcare, and other important aspects of their life. This can provide much-needed peace of mind for parents, who may worry about what will happen to their child once they are no longer able to care for them.

Special Needs Trusts

A conservatorship also allows for the creation of a special needs trust, which can provide financial support for the child without affecting their eligibility for California government benefits such as Medical, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This is an important consideration for families of children with disabilities, as these benefits can be crucial in providing the necessary care and support.

If your child is not completely independent, filing for a conservatorship is an important step to take. Under state and federal law, once a child reaches the age of 18, he or she is considered a legal adult and you will no longer be able to make decisions regarding finances, health care, or education on his or her behalf. If granted, a conservatorship would allow you to continue making these decisions.

A conservatorship is established in court when a judge appoints a responsible person (a conservator) to care for another adult (a conservatee). This process necessitates the completion of court-ordered paperwork, local center intervention, a court-ordered investigator, as well as a court hearing.

The court will outline the powers and duties given to the conservator and those powers and duties will be only those necessary to provide for the demonstrated need of the person with a disability.

  • The responsibilities of a conservator may include:
  • Deciding where the disabled person will live
  • Managing the individual’s finances
  • Making decisions regarding medical treatment
  • Determining education and occupational training
  • Signing contracts on behalf of the disabled person
  • Maintaining confidential records and papers

In summary, a conservatorship can be an incredibly valuable tool for families of children with disabilities. It ensures that their best interests are protected, and that they have access to the financial and legal support they need to live a happy and healthy life.

If you feel overwhelmed and you need help, please contact us.

American Advocacy Group is on the front lines every day, making positive change happen for people diagnosed with autism, Down syndrome and a range of diagnoses across the continuum.

As a leading advocate for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, and the premier provider of the support and services people want and need, we understand the system and know how to take action in regard to your best interests.


Dial (877) 762-0702 or email us at [email protected].

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