>Conservatorship of Deidre B. (California Courts of Appeal, January 11, 2010)

I found this to be an interesting case, although it involves an LPS (Lanterman-Petris-Short) conservatorship. If you know other people who are involved in trust, estate, conservatorship, elder, or related administration or investment issues, please also pass word of this blog along to them so they can view the regular updates.

The facts in Deidre B. are summarized as follows. In due course the San Diego Public Conservator filed a petition to reestablish the LPS conservatorship of Deidre on the grounds that Deidre was gravely disabled. An LPS conservatorship must be renewed or reestablished each year. The reestablishment was supported by two doctor declarations that identified Deidre’s disabilities as chronic paranoid schizophrenia and inability to provide for her basic needs.

In response to the petition Deidre’s Public Defender attorney filed a stipulation signed by the attorney that she had personally contacted Deidre by telephone, discussed the reestablishment of the conservatorship, and that Deidre agreed to the reestablishment of the conservatorship without need for a formal court trial. However, at the subsequent hearing on the petition the Public Defender represented to the court that they were not convinced based on discussions with Deidre that she was or was not contesting the conservatorship, and that the Public Defender had spoken with Deidre that morning by telephone and Deidre indicated that she did not want to contest the conservatorship or appear in court. The court affirmed the reestablishment of the conservatorship based on the prior stipulation.

In summary, the Court of Appeal upheld the reestablishment of the conservatorship. I mention this case for those o f you who are involved in LPS conservatorships as the case does discuss in detail the procedures for and legitimacy of reestablishing LPS conservatorship based on sufficient declarations from medical professionals, and that the conservatorship can be reestablished and the conservatee can consent to the reestablishment of the conservatorship and waive her right to a trial by a stipulation by her attorney that the conservatee was informed of the proceedings and her rights and that she agreed to not contest the reestablishment of the conservatorship and waived her right to have a trial of the matter in court. The case raises issues of informed consent, or possible lack thereof such as when the proposed conservatee is diagnosed with chronic paranoid schizophrenia.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco and Beyond)

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