Mental Health Conservatorships
Mistake #1: I didn't get a doctor to evaluate my son who is on a mental health conservatorship
Obtaining a doctor's declaration from the treating psychiatrist is typically an important requirement in mental health conservatorship cases. The declaration helps establish the need for a conservatorship and provides medical evidence regarding the conservatee's mental health condition.
In California, for example, a doctor's declaration is necessary when filing a petition for a mental health conservatorship, also known as a LPS conservatorship. The declaration must be completed by a qualified psychiatrist, stating the need for the conservatorship and providing details about the conservatee's mental health condition. If a doctor's declaration was not included in the conservatorship application or was mistaken, it may result in delays or complications in the legal process. It is important to consult with an attorney who specializes in conservatorships or seek legal advice in your jurisdiction to understand the specific requirements and steps to correct any mistakes or omissions in the conservatorship filing.
You need to know the requirements in the mental health conservatorship laws so you can ensure that all necessary documentation, including a doctor's declaration, is obtained and properly submitted.
Mistake #2: My sister's mental health conservatorship has lapsed but she still needs the protection
Allowing a mental health conservatorship to lapse can be a mistake, as re-establishing it may require obtaining a doctor's evaluation and declaration once again. In California, a doctor's evaluation is necessary to petition for or renew a mental health conservatorship each year and it is the responsibility of the conservator to provide that yearly doctor’s evaluation to the Court.
Re-establishing a lapsed conservatorship can be a complex process that usually involves filing a new petition with the court, providing updated medical evaluations, and demonstrating the ongoing need for the conservatorship. To avoid the lapse of a mental health conservatorship, it is important to stay informed about the specific requirements and timeframes set by the court handling the conservatorship. You can contact the Mental Health Court in Los Angeles and ask for the appointment of an attorney free of charge to you. The attorney will be one who specializes in mental health conservatorship law and will assist you. The attorney will ensure compliance with all legal procedures and the continuation of necessary care for the conservatee, including the re-establishment of a mental health conservatorship if it is still warranted.
Mistake #3: My mental health conservatee lives way across town which is very hard for me to get there
In California,the conservator of a mental health conservatorship must personally visit the conservatee regularly or hire a case manager to make these routinely required visits. As a conservator, their role is to act in the best interests of the conservatee and ensure their well-being. This provides the conservator with important first hand information as to the conservatee’s behavior, medication adherence, and changes in their mental capacity.
Regular visits allow the conservator to assess the condition and needs of the conservatee, ensure that they are receiving proper care and support, and address any concerns or issues that may arise. It also provides an opportunity to maintain a relationship and open lines of communication with the conservatee, which can contribute to their overall mental and emotional well-being.
Failing to visit the conservatee regularly may result in a lack of oversight, potentially compromising the conservatee's safety, rights, and quality of life. If a conservator is unable to make regular visits, they should consider alternative arrangements such as delegating the responsibility to a trustworthy and qualified individual, or seeking support from relevant professionals or services to ensure that the conservatee's needs are being met.
Mistake #4: My daughter get Social Security Insurance (SSI) benefits and I deposit the money into my checking account
The conservator must NOT mingle the assets of the conservatee with their own in a mental health conservatorship. This means that a separate account(s) must be established and the accounts must be entitled to clearly extablish that the funds are the property of the conservatee and must be used for their well-being. As a conservator, one of the main duties is to manage the financial affairs of the conservatee and act in their best interests. This includes keeping the conservatee's assets separate from their own.
Mingling assets can create confusion and commingling of funds, which may raise legal and ethical concerns. It undermines the purpose of the conservatorship, which is to protect the conservatee's assets and ensure they are used for their benefit. Mixing funds can make it difficult to accurately track and account for the conservatee's assets and may compromise their financial stability.Instead, a conservator should maintain separate bank accounts and financial records for the conservatee and ensure that the conservatee's assets are used solely for their benefit. This separation of assets is a crucial part of fulfilling the fiduciary responsibility of a conservator and preserving the conservatee's financial interests.
To ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations in any specific jurisdiction, it is advisable to consult with an attorney experienced in mental health conservatorships. They can provide guidance on the proper handling of assets and financial affairs within the legal framework.
Mistake #5: My son is in a locked mental hospital and the facility wants to move him to a board and care
It is a common mistake to assume that individuals under a mental health conservatorship cannot live independently in the community. The goal of a conservatorship, including mental health conservatorships, is to provide support and assistance to individuals who may struggle with decision-making or managing their personal affairs due to their mental health condition. More importantly, the California laws pertaining to the care, support, well-being and best interests of the conservatee dictates that they shall be placed in the least restrictive environment based on the degree of mental illness and the right to live with the appropriate level of supervision.
The aim is to help the individual regain their independence and make decisions autonomously whenever possible. Depending on the progress and capabilities of the conservatee, it may be possible for them to transition to living independently or with some level of support in the community.The conservator, mental health professionals, and other individuals involved in the conservatorship process should continuously evaluate the conservatee's progress and abilities. If it is determined that the individual has made significant advancements in their mental health and decision-making capacity, steps can be taken to modify or terminate the conservatorship, enabling them to live more independently.
It is essential to recognize that each individual's situation is unique, and decisions regarding independence should be made on a case-by-case basis, considering the individual's best interests and ensuring their safety and well-being.
Mistake #6: I am the conservator in a mental health conservatorship and the conservatee is getting really upset and needs medical treatment
It is a mistake to assume that someone under a mental health conservatorship cannot be INVOLUNTARILY admitted to a psychiatric facility under a 5150 hold. A conservatorship focuses on decision-making and support for personal affairs, but it does not necessarily prevent someone from being temporarily detained or admitted to a psychiatric facility for evaluation and treatment if they meet the criteria for a 5150 hold.
Under a 5150 hold, also known as an involuntary psychiatric hold, individuals can be detained for up to 72 hours if they are considered a danger to themselves or others, or if they are gravely disabled as a result of a mental health condition. This hold is typically initiated by a qualified mental health professional or law enforcement officer who determines that the person meets the criteria for an involuntary hold.Even if someone is under a mental health conservatorship, they can still experience crises or periods of acute mental health deterioration that may warrant immediate intervention and evaluation in a psychiatric facility under a 5150 hold. The conservatorship does not negate the legal provisions for a 5150 hold if the person's circumstances meet the criteria.
It is important to consult with legal professionals familiar with the specific laws and procedures so they can provide guidance on the specific implications of conservatorship in relation to involuntary holds and psychiatric treatment.