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Special Needs Trusts, Conservatorships and Guardianships

Special Needs Trusts (SNTs)

At Victorium Legal, we specialize in the creation and management of Special Needs Trusts (SNTs) for individuals with mental or physical disabilities. These trusts are essential for providing financial support to individuals with disabilities without compromising their eligibility for government benefits.

Types of SNTs:

  • First-Party SNTs: Used when an individual with disabilities inherits money, property, or receives a legal settlement. These trusts manage these assets to support the beneficiary's needs while preserving eligibility for government programs like Medicaid or SSI.
  • Third-Party SNTs: Established by family members or third parties for a person with special needs, these trusts are often used for future planning, such as for a child with special needs, ensuring that the trust assets are used for their care over time.

We tailor the SNTs to maintain the beneficiary's access to vital government benefits, working closely with clients to determine the most appropriate trust type for their specific needs.

Guardianships and Conservatorships

If you're in California, you may have come across the terms “conservatorship” and “guardianship.” These are court processes that establish legal authority for an individual to assume the duties and obligations of caring for another person. Whether you're seeking information for yourself or someone you know, this comprehensive guide will provide valuable insights.

Guardianship vs Conservatorship

Before becoming a guardian or conservator, it's crucial to understand the duties and obligations that come with these roles. 

AS A GUARDIAN:

When you become a legal guardian, you assume a range of important duties and obligations. As a custodian of a minor, you gain control over their well-being, including custody and decision-making authority. Moreover, you become a fiduciary, entrusted with acting in the best interests of the minor. This responsibility extends to providing essential care, such as education and healthcare. In essence, you step into the shoes of the parents and become liable for the actions of the minor.

AS A CONSERVATOR:

Similarly, as a conservator, you have a duty to act in the best interests of the Conservatee. The specific responsibilities may vary depending on the needs of the individual you are caring for. As a conservator, you may assist with handling vital aspects of the Conservatee's life, including healthcare, meals, clothing, personal care, housekeeping, and transportation. Essentially, your role is to ensure the Conservatee's well-being and provide any support they require to lead a fulfilling life.

THE FILING PROCESS:

To initiate the process, you must file a petition with the court to appoint a guardian or conservator. The initial filing fee may vary with each county but it is around $435. This fee covers the legal proceedings required to establish your authority. However, it's important to note that attorney fees are additional and can vary based on the complexity of the case and whether it is contested or uncontested.

INVESTIGATION AND REPORTS:

In most cases, the court will require an investigation to gather information about the circumstances surrounding the conservatorship or guardianship. This investigation usually involves a report, which typically costs between $800 and $1500. Additionally, a physician's report may be necessary, incurring an additional fee ranging from $200 to $500. These reports play a crucial role in helping the court make informed decisions.

ONGOING COSTS AND FEES:

Once the guardian or conservator is appointed, there will be ongoing costs and fees associated with the guardianship or conservatorship. If you are responsible for managing the Conservatee's estate, you may need to provide an annual accounting to the court. Completing these accountings may require the assistance of accountants or attorneys, incurring further fees. Additionally, guardians or conservators may be eligible for payment for their time and effort dedicated to the well-being of the conservatee.

With our expertise in these specialized areas of law, Victorium Legal is the ideal choice for families and individuals navigating the complexities of conservatorships, guardianships, and supplemental needs trusts. We are committed to providing you skilled legal services, ensuring the wellbeing and protection of your loved ones. Contact us to explore how we can assist in these crucial legal matters, delivering peace of mind and expert care.

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Victorium Legal, Inc. is a client-focused law firm serving small business owners and their families throughout the California region.

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