Probate Court

Alternatives to Guardianship and Conservatorship

Petitioning for guardianship or conservatorship should be a last resort, not the first.

Section 5103 of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code allows delegation of power by a parent or guardian, useful for temporary absences. A durable power of attorney can also avoid the need for guardianship or conservatorship by appointing an attorney-in-fact to handle financial affairs.

Designation of a patient advocate under sections 5506 to 5513 of the code allows for medical decision-making when the principal is unable.

For individuals reliant on Social Security or Veteran's benefits, appointment of a payee can manage finances without court intervention.

A guardian may perform some limited acts of a conservator without separate appointment, such as compelling support payments or receiving money and property for the ward's welfare.

By exploring these alternative avenues, individuals can maintain a greater degree of autonomy and control over their affairs while ensuring their well-being and interests are safeguarded, all without the need for intrusive and costly court proceedings.