Conservatorships with Benazeer "Benny" Roshan

April 9, 2024Media Mention
Bad With Money With Gabe Dunn

Probate, Trusts & Estates Litigation Chair, Benazeer "Benny" Roshan, was a guest on Bad With Money With Gabe Dunn. She discusses conservatorships and guardianships.


Gabe: Can you explain what a guardianship is, and then what a conservatorship is?

Benny: Absolutely. Depending on what state you're in [in the United States], the process by which an agent is appointed for you to make decisions on your behalf, [whether they be personal, or with respect to your finances] in California, with respect to an adult, it is called a conservatorship. With respect to a minor, it is called a guardianship. In some other states, for example, in New York, the entire process is called a guardianship. There are no differences between guardianships and conservatorships.

Gabe: What circumstances make it more appropriate for a conservatorship to be in place?

Benny: Two circumstances. I'll speak in California, but the rules are pretty uniform across the United States and Alaska, and the noncontiguous states. Essentially, when an adult becomes vulnerable, they become candidates for conservancy which is what a conservatorship is. There are two types in California. On a very high level, there is a conservatorship of the person, and there is a conservatorship of the estate. Conservatorship of the person involves circumstances whereby an adult cannot perform basic activities of daily living or care for themselves, and what that means is they cannot brush their teeth, drive their car, take medications, feed themselves, etc. There's a spectrum of vulnerability in that department, so that is what would make it appropriate for that particular adult to be conserved, and for a conservator of the person to be appointed. As a corollary to that, there is a conservatorship of the estate. For example, if you're a human and can no longer brush your teeth or drive, then similarly, you're not going to be handling complex financial tasks, like writing your checks, knowing how much money you have, or not giving someone money when they come and ask you, "I'm a Nigerian prince and I need a million dollars and you're going to get 200 million dollars." You become vulnerable. Under those circumstances, it becomes appropriate for you to be conserved in a financial matter. In California, the person who becomes appointed to be your conservator becomes a conservator of your estate.