There are numerous myths and misconceptions swirling around about probate conservatorships, this leads to misunderstandings and unnecessary fear. It is essential to debunk these myths and get accurate information for a better understanding of legal process.
Myth 1: Probate conservatorships take away the individuals of all their rights and autonomy. Reality: While probate conservatorships do delegate some decision-making authority, they do NOT take them all. This is designed to protect and assist individuals who are incapable of making decisions due to mental or physical impairments. The court's balances the person's well-being and best interest with their right to self-determination, appointing limited or tailored conservatorships that allow the individual to retain as much independence as possible. The legal process is not designed to punish the person, but to protect them. Myth 2: Conservatorships are primarily based on age. Reality: Conservatorships are not determined by age alone. It appears that way, because as we age, we have natural decreases in our mental and physical facilities. The probate conservatorships are based on each individual's specific needs and their inability to manage personal or financial matters due to these limitations. Age can be a contributing factor, but it is not the sole criteria for establishing a conservatorship. Myth 3: Conservators have absolute control over an individual's life and assets. Reality: Conservators are appointed as fiduciaries and must act in the best interests of the conservatee, not to have unrestricted control. They are obligated to make decisions that are reasonable, ethical, and consistent with the conservatee's wishes, to the extent that those wishes can be ascertained. Additionally, the court exercises oversight and can revoke or modify the conservatorship if necessary. Myth 4: Conservatorships are permanent and irreversible. Reality: Conservatorships are intended to last ONLY as long as needed, and the court re-evaluates their necessity every two years. If a conservatee's condition improves or circumstances change, a conservatorship may be terminated or modified accordingly. The court's priority is to ensure that the conservatee's rights and autonomy are respected, and alternatives to probate conservatorship are always explored whenever feasible and discussed at the re-evaluations every two years.
A conservatee always retains the right to challenge the placement on a probate conservatorship and the Court, the Attorneys and the many other professionals in this area of conservatorships are always supportive and enthusiastic when the person has accomplished changes that make the conservatorship unnecessary. Myth 5: Families and loved ones have no say in the conservatorship process. Reality: Family members and interested parties play a significant role in the conservatorship process. They can provide valuable input, advocate for the needs and preferences of the conservatee, and petition the court for alternatives or modifications to the conservatorship. The court considers all relevant information and input from these individuals when making decisions. Family members are the first line of protection for the afflicted person to be appointed as conservator because they are more proactive and care deeply for their disabled family members. These appointments provide much closer attention and duty than can be achieved through bureaucratic government supervision. Conclusion
By dispelling the myths surrounding probate conservatorship, it provides a more accurate understanding of this legal process, especially as it pertains to the protection of the person. This promotes informed discussions and ensures that individuals receive appropriate protection and support when necessary, while also respecting their rights and autonomy to the fullest extent possible.