When your developmentally disabled loved one needs assistance with the functions of daily life, a Limited Conservatorship may be the answer.
A limited conservatorship is legally like a
regular conservatorship, but with parameters which delimit the authority of the
Under California law, when a person has a condition which has existed since childhood that diminishes their capacity to meet their own needs, they are defined as "developmentally disabled." That means that, unlike a condition that results from age, illness or accident later in life, the person has never developed the ability to fully function without assistance, particularly in the area of decision making.
The limited conservatorship alloes the conservator to exercise specific, enumerated powers and controls in the life of the limited conservatee, so that he or she may enjoy as much autonomy as possible under their unique circumstances. Because tyhe nature and extent of developmental disabilities differ widely from person to person, the complete authority that attends a general conservatorship may not be necessary or appropriate. California law recognizes this and offers a "limited" conservatorship designed specifically to provide support tailored to the areas where the conservatee genuinely needs assistance due to their disability. These areas may include crucial decisions about where to live, signing contracts, choosing education and vocational training options, managing finances, and making informed choices regarding medical treatment.
Most clients who seek a limited conservatorship do so when a developmentally disabled child is approaching their 18th birthday, so that it can be in place before the child becomes an adult and the parents no longer have legal authority. Since most children in that situation are clients of the local Regional Center, the parents often receive a recommendation from the Regional Center to seek a limited conservatorship. Otherwise, people come to us when the child has already turned 18 and the parents find that they can no longer deal with schools and care providers without getting some push-back. Starting the process when the child is 17½ can ensure that the limited conservatorship is in place when the child attains majority, and provide for a smooth transition from parental authority to legal authority.