A conservatorship occurs when a judge appoints a responsible party to manage another person’s daily life and financial affairs due to physical or mental disabilities or even old age. The person or organization appointed to care for this individual is the conservator.
Like probate and trust sales, Los Angeles conservatorship sales are regulated by Probate Code and conducted in probate court. The main difference is that the property owner is deceased in a probate transaction. In Los Angeles conservatorship sales, the property owner is living and may reside in the home for sale. The conservator’s role is similar to that of an administrator or an executor. A conservator is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the conservatee. The conservator acts as fiduciary, managing the property on the conservatee’s behalf.
A general conservatorship is established for adults incapable of handling their own finances and care. Limited conservatorships are set up for adults with developmental disabilities but do not require the higher level of care under the general conservatorship.
The court appoints the conservator in one of three manners:
Conservator of the person
Of the estate
Conservator of both the person and the estate
Being appointed conservator does not automatically mean the conservator is also conservator of the estate. It requires a separate petition.
Once the court order has been received, the conservator has the authority to act on behalf of the estate. Some of the conservator’s duties are:
Locate and take control of the conservatee’s assets
Manage the conservatee’s finances, collecting income and paying bills
Provide accounting to the court regarding the management of the conservatee’s assets
Often, the decision to sell a conservatee’s home is difficult. Unfortunately, this is usually the best course of action. Frequently funds from the sale of the home are needed to take care of the conservatee’s medical and living costs. The decision to sell requires approval by the court, which takes time. California real estate, under a conservatorship, must be sold through the probate process and requires court confirmation. After the court has approved the sale of the conservatee’s property, it’s time to hire a real estate agent experienced in conservatorships. They are best suited to listing, marketing, and selling this type of property. In addition, a Realtor experienced in conservatorships will minimize the attorney’s interaction and legal fees.
Accordingly, the conservator has a fiduciary duty to sell the real estate for the highest possible price and protect the conservatee from potential liabilities. Once an offer is accepted, the attorney for the conservatorship will request a court date to confirm the sale. As with probates subject to court confirmation, there can be overbidders in court. Overbidding assures that the conservator has attained the highest amount possible for the conservatee’s property.