Why you NEED a Regional Center to qualify for a Limited Conservatorship

Young woman with Downs Syndrome who has a limited Conservatorship.

Written by Robert Nickerson

So, here’s a scenario I see all the time: We’ll have a family with an adult loved one with special needs come in. They talk about how they would like a Limited Conservatorship to set up because it’ll help set up financial responsibility with them or someone that can manage the affairs of their loved one. Sounds like a solid Special Needs Trust.

But we tell them we can’t get things started at the moment. It’s not because we don’t care. It’s not that it would be too much work for us.

It’s because they were NOT a consumer of a local Regional Center.

The process for having someone’s Limited Conservatorship set up already takes time with the probate court. You have to give notice, go through an investigation, attend a hearing, and if the petition is approved… yep, more forms.

But NONE of that matters if the proposed conservatee is not a consumer of a Regional Center.

According to the California Department of Developmental Services, a Regional Center Consumer is “an individual who has developmental disabilities including cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, Down syndrome, autism, epilepsy and related conditions”.

These Regional Centers do more than just classify your loved one as Special Needs. It’s a multitude of lifelong resources that includes toolkits, publications, programs and more. But most importantly, they provide help in planning, coordinating and supporting one with special needs.

There is a lengthy process to sign up for Regional Center Services, but it is well worth it.

The point though is that in order for that loved one to qualify for a limited conservatorship, they need to be a consumer of a Regional Center first.

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