Where to file a Conservatorship Petition in California?

In this article, we discuss where to file a conservatorship petition in California. Our legal practice focuses on Los Angeles Conservatorship. Timing for a conservatorship and the place where you file the conservatorship can make or break your case. We guide our clients about where to file a conservatorship petition in California and particularly in Los Angeles.

The Court where you file a Petition for Conservatorship is generally in the County were the Conservatee resides. For example, a conservatorship is started with by a proposed conservator filing a petition in Los Angeles, if the Conservatee lives in Los Angeles County. The most popular location for filing a Conservatorship Petition in Los Angeles is the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. When filing a petition for conservatorship, pay attention to the “Have Gavel, Will Travel” program at the local courts.

The Court filing locator is a good tool to use when looking for the appropriate location to file a petition: Here is the link: http://www.lacourt.org/filinglocatornet/ui/filingsearch.aspx

Credit: Los Angeles Superior Court’s website

Find out where to file a conservatorship in California. Watch for our other videos for conservators here or call us at Sirkin Law Group, PC 818.340.4479 for a free consultation. Speak to Mina Sirkin, Conservatorship Attorney. Get conservatorship guidance about the location for filing a conservatorship and when to file a conservatorship.

Whether you are looking for a conservator or simply want to know about more, please call us at 818.340.4479. We help Los Angeles Conservators with all court-related matters.

How to prevent financial elder abuse in Los Angeles?

Many clients wonder if they can truly prevent financial elder abuse of a Los Angeles relative. To prevent elder abuse, the Los Angeles County court has implemented a few rules in addition to California’s elder abuse law which add to the protection of elders’ finances.

Preventing Elder Financial abuse in Los Angeles is about a few things:  1) Preparation; 2) A little paranoia, mixed with restricting one’s own rights to amend, withdraw, or revoke a trust, and making transfers of assets, and changes under court supervision, or under a professional’s exclusive supervision; and 3) taking quick action if it actually happens.


Most of the financial elder abuse happens in families, where one child has a sense of entitlement, or by a caregiver, or a spouse.   Sometimes, financial elder abuse happens at the hand of a caregiver.   Sometimes, the caregivers go very far, and become spouses to the elderly, and run up large sums of credit card debt.  A taking for wrongful use is elder abuse in California.  So, spending sprees on the elder’s credit card may constitute the “wrongful taking” element of financial elder abuse purposes. Welf. and Inst. Code §15610.30(c).  Undue influence in changing someone’s estate plan is also deemed elder financial abuse now.   If you are in probate court, sometimes you observe cases involving undue influence and financial elder abuse. Pay attention to the parties for more information about elder abuse in Los Angeles.

A little advance guidance and prevention can protect you from abuse by a family member, greedy adult child, and caregivers.   If you know you are vulnerable, see an attorney now!

When elders prepare to prevent elder financial abuse, they often look to instruments that are either irrevocable, or that become irrevocable with a special trigger.   A special trigger may be an outside professional visiting to determine if it is time to make the trust irrevocable.

But, sometimes, you cannot restrict particular assets.   IRA accounts are particularly vulnerable to financial elder abuse.  While a trust may protect other assets, IRA accounts are not trust assets and making a trust revocable or irrevocable does not affect the ira.   Financial institutions have recently become aware of such vulnerability, and allow for the customer to set restrictions on ira accounts, internally, so that the ira cannot be changed when there are certain conditions.   Also, they have become aware of attempts to draw large amounts of money from IRA accounts.   Beneficiary designations can be protected when the consumer makes the beneficiary designation irrevocable.  Those take lots of extra effort to implement, but certainly can be used to protect the elder’s money.

Restricting the exclusive method of amendment or revocation of the trust, as well as withdrawal of assets from the trust can be helpful in protecting senior citizens.   This requires special language in the trust to limit the right to amend, revoke or withdraw to an exclusive method, tied to the court, or another person, who is not the settlor. Probate Code §15401(a)(2); §15402. Gardenhire v. Superior Court (2005) 127 Cal.App.4th 882, 886.

Qualified Personal Residence Trust and other types of irrevocable trust can also protect the elder’s future finances.   These are complicated trusts and you should obtain advice about their consequences. Hiring an elder abuse attorney is the key to the prevention of elder abuse in Los Angeles County.

Because many times, caregivers attempt to marry the elder to overcome the presumption of undue influence, one could specifically omit transfers to a caregiver who becomes a spouse and protect the trust from the pretermitted spouse rule be effectively inserting a provision that eliminates a caregiver who becomes a spouse later.   Probate Code §21611(a) provides that a new spouse shall not take under the omitted spouse rule if the decedent intentionally failed to provide for the spouse as expressed in the testamentary instrument.

There is a cost in elder protection planning, which is a loss of all control.  Giving up some control over the assets can help the elderly hold on to their money, in situations when family or caregivers act as predators.  Talk to us about updates to elder abuse issues in 2020.

Mina Sirkin is a probate attorney in Los Angeles.  As an attorney who handles financial elder abuse asset protection planning in Los Angeles, Ms. Sirkin frequently speaks to groups regarding, regarding how to avoid greedy family members and caregivers in Los Angeles County, California.   We serve all of Los Angeles County, Woodland Hills, Glendale, Pasadena, and West Los Angeles areas. To reach us, call 818.340.4479, or

email: Info@sirkinLaw.com.

Los Angeles Probate Attorney preventing financial elder abuse in Los Angeles.

  • How to prevent financial elder abuse in Los Angeles

Attorney for Elderly Parents: Attorney Advice Conservatorships Los Angeles

As a Los Angeles client, once you meet with our skilled staff attorney and obtain advice about Los Angeles conservatorship procedure, you will be able to make a better conservatorship decision at different steps and stages of your Los Angeles parents’ lives.  Statistically, longer life expectancies may mean that you may become a caregiver for your elderly Los Angeles parent who may eventually need a Los Angeles conservatorship or asset protection.  #conservatorships #in #Los #Angeles

As time goes by, you may wonder as a child if you owe any duty of care to your elder parent in California. Below, we will discuss California law regarding conservatorships and care of elderly parents and how one would pay for such care.  To get more information about conservatorships in Los Angeles, contact Mina Sirkin, attorney for elderly parents for advice about conservatorships in Los Angeles at 818.340.4479.

Who is responsible for care of elderly parents in Los Angeles?

  1.  If you have started to act as your parent’s caregiver, you will be expected to act with competence.
  2.  Your parent may have greater expectations from you, than from a professional care agency.
  3.  Your siblings may think that you are inserting yourself in your parent’s life.
  4.  If you personally sign any paperwork at a facility, you may have obligated yourself to pay for your parent’s care.
  5.  If you fail to conserve your parent, are you may be deemed to be negligent.
  6.  How far will informal help go with your parents? Are your parents willing to receive help from you?
  7. In conservatorships, your parent’s care gets paid by your parent’s assets, except as provided below.
  8. Discuss physical care and financial care with your parents separately.

Unusual California law affecting the support of your elderly parents in Los Angeles:

There are some limited circumstances where the law requires an adult child to pay support for the parent, but if you become a conservator of your parent the care for your parent is paid from his or her own assets.

California even has a Family Code 4400 which states that an adult child may be required to pay for the care of the parent.

“Except as otherwise provided by law, an adult child shall, to the extent of his or her ability, support a parent who is in need and unable to maintain himself or herself by work.”

Do I have to pay to support my parents in California?

Family Code 4401 . The promise of an adult child to pay for necessaries previously furnished to a parent described in Section 4400 is binding.

Further, Family Code 4402 states: The duty of support under this part is cumulative and not in substitution for any other duty.

Who pays for support and caregiving costs in Conservatorships?

By becoming the conservator of your parent, you can protect yourself by having a conservatorship where the court supervises the actions of a conservator and where the care of your parent will be paid for from his or her own assets in a conservatorship. Your parent’s assets generally pay for the support and caregiving costs in conservatorships. If you advance costs of care in a conservatorship, you may ask the court for reimbursement at the time of your conservatorship accounting process. Ask our elder parent attorney about the steps in conservatorships Los Angeles.

How will I pay for my parent’s care in California?

There are many ways with which care can be paid. Here are some of the examples by which elder care may be paid:

  1. Personal assets.
  2. Long Term Care insurance policies.
  3. Long Term Care Medi-Cal.
  4. Certain Types of Life Insurance cash values.

Not only the cost of care of elderly parents is an important factor in your determination, but Los Angeles Conservatorship fees and costs are also some of the important variables to consider before you start a conservatorship.  Talk to us before you file for a conservatorship in Los Angeles to avoid possible Los Angeles conservatorship litigation.

  • conservatorships los angeles

Call our attorney about advice about conservatorships in Los Angeles to consult about your rights and duties to pay for your parent’s care as a child or as a conservator, and also about the cost of conservatorships Los Angeles California. We serve the Los Angeles area with elder care services and aging care issues. Conservatorships related matters in Los Angeles. Call 818.340.4479. We take care of parent conservatorship matters. Count on us for conservatorship advice.

Has the executor stolen from the estate if he is ignoring you?

Executor is ignoring me

Los Angeles California: Sometimes during probate administration, we hear “the executor has stolen money or been ignoring me or avoiding me.” What happens if an executor robbed from the trust or estate and been putting you off or ignoring you for a long time? If you have ever found yourself thinking that an executor or administrator has ignored you or has been delaying the estate administration for some time, there may be several things that have gone under California inheritance law. Executor fraud and executor abuse are very common in California.

What can happen when you delay prosecution and the executor stole money from the estate?

Often, a beneficiary or an heir may call us and complain that an “executor has been ignoring me for a long time” and wants us to act on their case to protect their inheritance. We first have to find out if you have actually waited too long. Breaches of fiduciary duty have short statutes of limitations.

Absconding Executor Often Delays

When an executor absconds with assets of the estate, it is not uncommon for the executor to ignore the beneficiary and delay distribution. At times, the executor refuses to distribute the estate assets without any justification. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations on breach of fiduciary duty runs three years from the earliest date the breach could have been discovered by a reasonable person. This means that if you had been given notice of the appointment of the executor, and an opportunity to question the executor and failed to do so, the statute of limitations may have already started to run. To prevent loss you must act promptly and file the appropriate papers in probate court. If the administrator is refusing to act properly or declines to distribute the assets of the estate after an order, there is a substantial problem.

Recovery of assets from an executor has deadlines

Next, we have to evaluate whether or not we can recover assets on behalf of the estate. Once a beneficiary knows or could know of facts involving a breach, the clock has started to tick on the claim of the beneficiary. Much of recovery (prevention of further loss) from an executor or trustee revolves around the ability to freeze the assets of the estates quickly to prevent further loss. A delayed distribution can sometimes be a clue to executor theft, and it should give you cause to pause and retain an attorney.

Our advice to you about executors is that the minute you know an executor has been appointed, is avoiding you, or has delayed distributing the assets, you must get counsel to advise you of the specific deadlines that the executor must meet within his duties to you. If you see that the executor has missed a deadline, you must act quickly regardless of whether other beneficiaries or heirs will agree with you regarding the issues around the executor or administrator. An executor delay is usually a bad sign in estates and you should be aware of all activities of the executor and due dates of documents from him or her.

Talk to the skilled estate attorney at Sirkin Law about the executor’s duties to you and do not wait too long if the executor has either stolen money, ignored you or missed any deadline. Getting counsel in the first instant when you are weary of the executor, can save you thousands of dollars and protect your inheritance. Call the attorneys at Sirkin Law Group for a free estate consultation. We can answer all of your inheritance law questions at 818.340.4479.

Differences between Trusts vs. Wills: Differences in Administering Trusts vs. Wills

Wills and Trusts:

First, there are a number of differences in administering trusts v. wills in probate. Many times, people ask us about the characteristics of wills in estates and living trusts and often confuse the same.

Notification Differences:

When differentiating a will in a probate case, as opposed to a living trust, notification procedures are different but have similar goals. In a Trust administration case, there needs to be a PC 16061.7 Notice. When administering a will, PC 160601.7 does not apply. Instead, in probate of a will, every named person in the will and every heir at law get a Notice, usually by publication in a newspaper in the city or county of the Decedent’s death.

Inventory in a Trust v. a Will:

In addition, there are differences in the methods of inventorying in probate of a will, as opposed to a trust. In probating a will, a court-appointed referee needs to be appointed in the case who will evaluate the property. In a probate estate, the referee appointed by the court will appraise the assets.

Payment of Fees in Probate vs. in a Trust:

Third, the method of payment of the trustee is different than that of the payment under the supervision of the probate court. The Probate Court will supervise the amount of the fees in the probate court, but rarely in a trust matter. As you can see, these contrasts between wills and trusts can make each case vary in outcome and duration.

The jurisdiction in Administering a Trust v. Administering a Will

The general rule governing the place of administration of the trust is where the trustee conducts his or her business on a day-to-day basis. On the other hand, the jurisdiction where the will is primarily administered is the place where the decedent resided at the time of his death. So, in many situations, the place where the successor trustee may be administering the trust may be different than where the decedent died. Therefore, if there is a family conflict with the trustee, the place where the lawsuit is filed is therefore the place where the trustee administers the trust.

Do you have questions about how to administer a trust and will? To learn more about living trusts and the differences in the administration of the trusts and wills, call Mina Sirkin at 818-340-4470.

Probate Consultation Service Los Angeles

Our Los Angeles law office offers a free probate consultation as part of our probate service. During your estate consultation appointment, you will get general estate information about our probate services and guidance. We discuss all facets of legal service in probate and estates in Los Angeles California. Clients often call us at 818.340.4479 to obtain a free appointment to consult about probate, estate, wills, and trust matters to evaluate their needs in advance of making a decision. Our probate attorney is your guide to the probate court and its services.

What is a probate consultation?

At our probate consultation, we discuss the facts of your case and advise you of the steps that need to be taken in the probate matter. We can evaluate and offer various options depending on the facts of your case. The probate consultation is an informal meeting where we talk and there is no commitment by either of us to proceed with the case. The initial consultation is free and will take about an hour.

When should you get guidance or advice from a skilled probate attorney?

You should consult with our Los Angeles attorney in the following probate estate circumstances at a no-charge or free estate consultation appointment about your options and our probate services:

1.  You believe there was forgery involved regarding a Will in Probate.

2.   You believe someone influenced the decedent to write a will or trust which he or she otherwise would not have signed.

3.   There was any type of fraud involved in an estate.

4.    An executor has not filed an accounting within a year from the start of probate.

5.    Executor or Administrator has not filed an inventory.

6.    The elderly decedent was subject of elder abuse during his or her lifetime.

7.    There are assets which should belong to the estate but which someone else claims or owns.

8.    Decedent was in the middle of a sale, or transaction, and he or she died.

9.    There is sibling rivalry in the family regarding who should own the assets of a parent, or deceased person and a family member needs a free probate consultation in Los Angeles, CA.

10.  There needs to be a conservator appointed for a family member or loved one.

11.  A fiduciary, executor, administrator, trustee or agent under a power of attorney has not met his or her duties or responsibilities.

12.   Probate estate assets need to be returned to a person, estate or trust.

Find out more information about our free evaluation process of your probate estate in Los Angeles at a free initial consultation by contacting 818.340.4479. Free Probate Consultation Appointment Offer.

Take advantage of a free probate information session at our free estate consultation. For information about probate in Los Angeles or for an appointment to consult with us, call or contact Probate Consultant Attorney Mina Sirkin, Probate Law Certified Specialist Attorney for a Free Probate Consultation in Los Angeles.  Call 818.340.4479  Los Angeles Probate Lawyer

free probate consultation Los Angeles
free probate consultation Los Angeles

How to Remove and Replace an Executor in Los Angeles California?: How to Remove or Replace a California Executor?

Removing or replacing an executor takes time. You can remove or replace an executor in Los Angeles County California for many reasons, even in the middle of a beneficiary dispute.   Below is a list of how-to and reasons to remove and replace an executor or trustee in California.

  1.  The executor has mismanaged the assets of the estate or trust.  This means any loss to the trust or estate, or any personal profit by the executor.
  2. The executor has not accounted after an order by the court.
  3. The executor fighting with the beneficiaries and has an adverse personal interest in the estate or trust.
  4. The executor has died.
  5. The executor has become ill and cannot handle the affairs of the probate estate.
  6. The executor has stolen money from the estate.
  7. The executor has personally profited from the estate unless the will specifically allows for that.


Changing an executor comes after an executor is removed. However, you may first suspend an executor and appoint a special administrator or interim executor, before you change an executor. Generally, if the issue is simply rendering an accounting, the beneficiary will formally request the accounting, and the executor within a reasonable amount of time (usually 60) days will account.  If that does not occur, and a court orders the executor or trustee to account, and the executor or trustee does not comply, then there is good cause to remove the executor or trustee.

The existence of “good cause” depends on the language of the will or trust.   It is commonly not permissible to remove an executor without good cause.   A prolonged illness which renders an executor or trustee unable to act, is usually good cause, as is death.   Theft and mismanagement are also good causes, but do require proof of those in court.


If you are found not to have good cause to remove or replace an executor, the court can deem that as an indirect attack against a will or even the trust and deem it a contest, which can sometimes result in loss of a beneficiary’s rights, where there is a no contest clause.   California courts can also assess attorney’s fees and costs, where the beneficiary has acted unreasonably in contesting an accounting.

When you think of challenging an executor, you must give consideration to the end result of your petition for removal. Will the court remove or suspend the executor? The facts determine whether the court will take swift action. Will the action save the estate some money? Will the action recover assets which were stolen by the executor? Does the executor have a bond to recover against? and How much is the executor’s bond? Ask yourself if the court is likely to suspend the executor first.


If you find that your situation meets any of the reasons to remove or replace an executor in Los Angeles, call Mina Sirkin, Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trusts in Los Angeles County, California.   We can help change the executor in your case. Call: 818-340-4479 for appointments or email: Info@SirkinLaw.com.  We can help in removing and replacing an executor in Los Angeles County, Woodland Hills, Glendale & Pasadena.

In which court do you have to file the Petition for Probate in California?: Probate Petition Los Angeles

In which court do you have to file a probate petition in California?

Generally, the jurisdiction to file a petition for probate in California is the County where the decedent lived. Jurisdictional issues come up often in probate when you are deciding in which court to file the petition for probate. We can assist you with a probate petition in Los Angeles.

Where to you Petition for Probate?

California Probate 7051.  

If the decedent was domiciled in California at the time of death, the proper county for proceedings concerning the administration of the decedent’s estate is the county in which the decedent was domiciled, regardless of where the decedent died.

Why does the Court care about the domicile rather than just where the decedent died? Many people travel or are cared for by adult family members in a different location than their hometown towards the end of their lives. Probate in California can be complex or simple. A qualified attorney can tell you about the nuances of your California Probate. California law’s goal in making sure petition for probate is filed in the county of domicile is to protect the creditors of the decedent who are entitled to notice. Our legislators want to make sure that creditors get adequate notice and they are likely to be located where the decedent was domiciled or resided, not just where he/she died.

Are there other rules that apply to where you file the Probate Petition in California?

Yes, if the decedent did not live in California at the time of his death, but decedent owned property in California, you first file probate or Petition in the County and State where he resided, then you file an ancillary petition for probate in the California County where the decedent had property.

California Probate Code 7052.  

If the decedent was not domiciled in this state at the time of death, the proper county for proceedings under this code concerning the administration of the decedent’s estate is one of the following:

(a) If property of the nondomiciliary decedent is located in the county in which the nondomiciliary decedent died, the county in which the nondomiciliary decedent died.

(b) If no property of the nondomiciliary decedent is located in the county in which the nondomiciliary decedent died or if the nondomiciliary decedent did not die in this state, any county in which property of the nondomiciliary decedent is located, regardless of where the nondomiciliary decedent died. If property of the nondomiciliary decedent is located in more than one county, the proper county is the county in which a petition for ancillary administration is first filed, and the court in that county has jurisdiction of the administration of the estate.

FILE PROBATE: We have helped thousands of families with probate petition matters in Los Angeles. To discuss the Court in which to file a Petition for Probate, or if you are an out-of-state attorney or family member with a California Probate question, call or contact Mina Sirkin about Los Angeles California Probate questions at 818.340.4479 or email Info@SirkinLaw.com

Considering a Petition for Conservatorship: Glendale California: Are you considering a Petition for Consevatorship? Glendale Attorney Explains Conservatorships

Are you thinking of conserving a parent or a loved one in Glendale, California or filing a petition for conservatorship? The success of a Conservatorship Petition depends on many factors when you are in court before a conservatorships judge.

Here is a list of factors that the Probate Court will consider when a Petition for Conservatorship is filed:

  1. The Capacity Declaration contents. Judges will review the Capacity Declaration to determine if the examining doctor or physician finds enough indicators of incapacity of the proposed conservaatee. This document is important if the case does not go to trial.
  2. The contents of the Petition for Conservatorship (also called the Conservatorship Petition). The Court looks for facts that substantiate what the Proposed Conservatee cannot do for himself or herself.
  3. Testimony from family members and friends.
  4. Testimony from a physician who is an expert witness regarding the capacity of the conservatee, if the case goes to trial. This testimony replaces the Capacity Declaration at trial because there are many times when there are objections to the Conservatorship Petition.

What happens if a Petition for Conservatorship is opposed or objected to by someone in court?

Lets say you have received a copy of a Petition for Appointment of a Probate Conservator and a Notice of Hearing. As a child or a family member of the person who is named as a proposed conservatee, you have the right to object to the court appointing someone who is named as the proposed conservator in the petition.  

Conservatorship Glendale Ca

Timing is everything in conservatorships. If you want to file objections to a conservatorship in Los Angeles, you have to comply with deadlines set by the Court regarding filing responsive pleadings, which then creates a conservatorship lawsuit.   If you agree with the Petition,  you may choose to do nothing.  If you disagree or believe there is a better option, with the Petition, you should immediately hire counsel to appear in court and any necessary documentation including the objection to the petition on a pleading for you on a timely basis, before the hearing.


In California, any interested person, a family member, or even a friend or a neighbor file an objection to the appointment of a Conservator.   The court then appoints a CAC (Court-appointed attorney) in Los Angeles County to advocate for the Conservatee’s wishes. Spouses are given a priority when filing a conservatorship unless they are involved in a divorce proceeding against the proposed conservatee.

First, the Proposed Conservatee can object to the Conservatorship, and does not even have to file anything in court.   An oral objection may be made by the Proposed Conservatee by his or her court-appointed attorney as counsel who will report to the court as to why his/her client should not be conserved.

Most often, Objections to Conservatorship are filed by one or more children of the Conservatee who do not agree with the appointment of the person who seeks the Conservatorship. If you are considering becoming a conservator for a Glendale resident, call us.


As a family member or friend, you are required to file a written objection in court and pay a filing fee to have it heard on the date of the hearing for the Petition for Conservatorship.   Your objection has to be verified under penalty of perjury, staying the reasons the Court should not grant the Petition.


Time is of the essence. If you are late to the game, you tend to lose. If you believe any of the following, you should get legal advice from an experienced attorney regarding filing an objection, which should be done before the date of the hearing:

  • You believe the Proposed Conservatee is competent; or
  • You believe the person who has filed to become the Conservator is not suitable;
  • You believe the person who has filed to become the Conservator has engaged in elder abuse or does not have the best interest of the Conservatee at heart;
  • You believe a lesser restrictive alternative exists to the Conservatorship.


 In Los Angeles Superior Court (Probate Court), the filing fee for an Objection to a Petition for Appointment of a Probate Conservatorship is $465.00 for 2019.


​Before you file an objection, you must review the will or trust of the conservatee to make sure you are not triggering a no-contest clause by accident. When you object to a Conservatorship, you are not quite done.   If you believe that someone else is more suitable to be the Conservator, then you must file a competing Petition for Appointment of Probate Conservator. That has a separate filing fee and if it involves the money of the conservator, then you also must also pay for a probate court investigator’s fee when you file. That costs $650.


After you have filed your objection, the court will hear the matter and ask whether any discovery time is needed.  Once discovery is completed, the court will set a hearing called a trial setting conference where a date is then selected for trial.


If the parties are agreeable, try mediation in conservatorship cases first.   Once you have mediated the case, options may become more evident as to why the best course of action would be as in the best interest of the Conservatee.    


Call us when you are considering a Glendale Conservator. We can help you find and hire the right Conservator in Glendale for your loved ones or aging family members.


Mina Sirkin is a Certified Specialist Attorney in Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law in Glendale Ca, Los Angeles County, California.   Lets talk about a Glendale Conservatorship. Ms. Sirkin has over 27 years of experience in Conservatorships in Glendale with many cases involving contested petitions to conservatorship objections in the Los Angeles Superior Court – Probate Court.  Do you have questions about a Conservatorship Petition in Glendale? We have the answers. Read more about about our credentials here:   Los Angeles Conservatorship Attorney. 

Read about the Glendale Conservatorship Resources here.

Our law offices in Glendale, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, and Pasadena handle all matters relating to conservatorships and objections to conservatorships, as well as competing petitions.   Call us at 818.340.4479 when you need help with objections to conservatorship in Los Angeles County.  Call for a free consultation regarding conservatorships in Los Angeles.


Can someone who is under a conservatorship make a will in California?

In this post, we answer two common questions about conservatorships and wills:

  1. Can someone who is conserved in a conservatorship make a will?
  2. Can a conservator make a will for a person who is under a conservatorship or is it too late?

In California, generally, to make a will, you must be competent and not under undue influence. However, even a person who is under a conservatorship retains the right to make a will, unless he or she is found to lack testamentary capacity. California Probate law does not take away the conservatee’s right to make a will under Prob C §1871(c), but the question of whether a will created by a conservatee is valid is a factual one if there is no finding of lack of testamentary capacity.

Probate Code 1871 provides:

PRB § 1871. Nothing in this article shall be construed to deny a conservatee any of the following:

(a) The right to control an allowance provided under Section 2421.

(b) The right to control wages or salary to the extent provided in Section 2601.

(c) The right to make a will.

(d) The right to enter into transactions to the extent reasonable to provide the necessaries of life to the conservatee and the spouse and minor children of the conservatee and to provide the basic living expenses, as defined in Section 297 of the Family Code, to the domestic partner of the conservatee. [Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 893, Sec. 23. Effective January 1, 2002]”

The issue of testamentary capacity, by contrast, does not involve such issues. [3] “It is thoroughly established by a series of decisions that: ‘Ability to transact important business, or even ordinary business, is not the legal standard of testamentary capacity. …’ (Estate of Arnold [1940] 16 Cal.2d 573, 586 ….” (Estate of Powers (1947) 81 Cal.App.2d 480, 483-484 [184 P.2d 319]; Estate of Mann (1986) 184 Cal.App.3d 593, 605 [229 Cal.Rptr. 225].) Rather, testamentary capacity involves the question of whether, at the time the will is made, the testator “‘has sufficient mental capacity to understand the nature of the act he is doing, to understand and recollect the nature and situation of his property and to remember, and understand his relations to, the persons who have claims upon his bounty and whose interests are affected by the provisions of the instrument.'” (Estate of arnold (1940) 16 Cal.2d 573, 586 [107 P.2d 25], quoting Estate of Sexton (1926) 199 Cal. 759, 764 [251 P. 778]; Estate of Mann, supra, 184 Cal.App.3d at p. 602.) It is a question, therefore, of the testator’s mental state in relation to a specific event, the making of a will. [2b] While it is true that the existence of a conservatorship at the time a will was executed may have some bearing on the question of testamentary capacity in a will contest (see, e.g., Estate of Wochos (1972) 23 Cal.App.3d 47 [99 Cal.Rptr. 782]), appointment of a conservator is not an adjudication of testamentary incapacity. fn. 5

This is made clear by the conservatorship statute itself. Section 1872, subdivision (a) states: “Except as otherwise provided in this article, the appointment of a conservator of the estate is an adjudication that the conservatee lacks the legal capacity to enter into or make any transaction that binds or obligates the conservatorship estate.” A specific exception to this general rule of legal incapacity, however, is that the conservatee retains “[t]he right to make a will ….” (§ 1871, subd. (c).) . Estate of Powers (1947) 81 CA2d 480

If you have a Glendale family member or have filed a Petition for Conservatorship for a loved one or parent, you should investigate whether or not a will exists, and if it does not, consult with a conservatorship attorney regarding creating a will or trust for an incompetent person by using a substituted judgment petition.

If there is a doubt as to the conservatee’s testamentary capacity, a conservator may petition the court to create a will under a substituted judgment petition rules. The court in Murphy v Murphy (2008) 164 CA4th 376, held that a substituted-judgment order had collateral estoppel effect and therefore could not be challenged after the conservatee’s death.

What Standard Does The Court Look For In Finding Incompetency to Make a Will in California?

Under Probate Code § 6100.5. (a), an individual is not mentally competent to make a will if at the time of making the will either of the following is true:

(1) The individual does not have sufficient mental capacity to be able to (A) understand the nature of the testamentary act, (B) understand and recollect the nature and situation of the individual’s property, or (C) remember and understand the individual’s relations to living descendants, spouse, and parents, and those whose interests are affected by the will.

(2) The individual suffers from a mental disorder with symptoms including delusions or hallucinations, which delusions or hallucinations result in the individual’s devising property in a way which, except for the existence of the delusions or hallucinations, the individual would not have done.

(b) Nothing in this section supersedes existing law relating to the admissibility of evidence to prove the existence of mental incompetence or mental disorders.

(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a conservator may make a will on behalf of a conservatee if the conservator has been so authorized by a court order pursuant to Section 2580. [Amended by Stats. 1995, Ch. 730, Sec. 8. Effective January 1, 1996]

There are formal and legal ways to make a will for someone incompetent through a special court petition. Call us about substituted judgment petitions in Los Angeles California.

If you are unsure that your loved one has the capacity to make a will, please call us with your questions. Call for a free consultation with Mina Sirkin, at 818.340.4479 to consult with an attorney to determine if a conservatee can make a will.