Carol A. Peters - Attorney at Law
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Handbook for Conservators

“HANDBOOK FOR CONSERVATORS” can be viewed on-line at
http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/seniors/handbook.htm
This Handbook explains how the Conservatorship process works, and what is expected of the Fiduciary, and when to consult your Lawyer.

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If you are interested in becoming a PROFESSIONAL FIDUCIARY, consider taking the CERTIFICATION study program available at Cal State Fullerton: http://www.csufextension.org/Classes/Certificate/
The ‘on-line’ study course enables you to participate in the classes’ Discussion Groups whenever convenient for your work schedule. You can learn the rules, pass the Fiduciary test, and become a CERTIFIED CONSERVATOR or a CERTIFIED TRUSTEE.

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Recently, the LA Times published a 4-part series called “Guardians For Profit” critical of the system. Interestingly, this series failed to mention that on November 4, 2005, BEFORE the 11/13/05 LA Times series, the California Judicial Council APPROVED the CERTIFICATION of Professional Fiduciaries. See the 72 pages approved by the Judicial Council at http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courtadmin/jc/documents/reports/1104itemC4.pdf

The LA Times is owned by the Chicago Tribune, which has a policy of publishing FEATURES rather than NEWS. These articles were a “FEATURE” but were not “exhaustively reported”, such as would be required for a Pulitzer Prize in Journalism…

Attorney Peters if of the opinion that these articles were an incomplete feature, and so insufficiently newsworthy, for the following reasons.

First, there was NO explanation of the Conservatorship process.

Second, everyone laboring in the field of elder law and elder care already knew the Office of the Public Guardian was UNDERFUNDED and had been for more than 8 years. The view reported was fiscally accurate but ‘old news’ as the consequences in human misery was the subject of many proposals, none of which were included in the reportage.

Third, the series was TOTALLY SILENT about basic facts, relevant to the administration of justice, past and present:

  • Judge Aviva Bobb was awarded the ACCESS TO JUSTICE Award for her work in the Family Law judicial system (which included ‘unbundling’ the custody/visitation issues from the finance issues) before being assigned to serve as Presiding Judge of LA County’s Probate Court in Dept. 11 at LASC Central, to serve the families of the disabled and deceased, a corollary in the Court system to her prior service;
  • Conservatorships are NECESSARY protective actions, because:
  • The elder may have family, but the family is unable to create/oversee care;
  • The elder has no family, and is self-neglectful and slipping;
  • The elder has been physically abused or financially exploited
    • Either by the elder’s own family
    • Or by a stranger (when there is no family).
  • The proposed Conservatee receives NOTICE 3 times:
    First, by Citation and Petition (process server, as benignly as possible)
    Second, by the Court’s own Probate Investigator (court employee)
    Third, by Probate Volunteer Panel Attorney, assigned to represent him/her.

BUT the articles failed to mention that a proposed Conservatee may not remember any of these people, due to short term memory loss or other memory problems.

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Carol A. Peters, Attorney at Law, is located in Pasadena, CA and serves clients in and around Altadena, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, Alhambra, La Canada, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Glendale, Echo Park, Silverlake, Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, San Gabriel, Temple City, Whittier, Los Angeles, Huntington Park, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, Pico Rivera and Los Angeles County.
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