California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed Assembly Bill 1663 into law, providing Golden State residents with a flexible alternative to conventional conservatorship-based estate plans.
California Assembly Bill 1663 Helps Disabled and Incapacitated Californians
For years, disabled and incapacitated Californians found themselves in a particularly precarious position. While they might work, own property, and manage their own assets, a single court order could thrust them into a conservatorship, depriving them of the right to live life on their own terms.
While conservatorships are often a practical necessity, intended primarily to protect the well-being of disabled and incapacitated adults, they are often perceived as overbearing instruments that make it more difficult for vulnerable people to exercise control of their personal affairs.
Assembly Bill 1663, or AB 1663, establishes supported decision-making as an alternative to conservatorship. In general, supported decision-making provides incapacitated adults with the external support they need to make informed choices while ensuring that they remain entitled to exercise their independence.
How Supported Decision-Making Differs From Conventional Conservatorships
Supported-decision differs from conventional conservatorships in the following ways:
In a conventional conservatorship, the conservator has the authority to make many decisions about the ward’s life, even against the ward’s wishes. Conversely, in a supported decision-making arrangement, the disabled adult may receive support from loved ones and state allies but ultimately makes decisions for themselves.
Conservators and changes to conservatorships must be approved by the court. However, AB 1663 lets the disabled adult and their support network make changes without the need for extensive court oversight.
Under most circumstances, conservatorships are managed by a single, court-appointed conservator. In supported decision-making, incapacitated adults may seek help from multiple supporters who may offer assistance in different ways. For example, one supporter might help with money, while another might help navigate social relationships or employment.
Conservatorships are usually approved and configured in accordance with specific diagnostic criteria. The court may, for example, consider a ward’s IQ and determine what they can and cannot do independently. However, in supported decision-making, the disabled adult has the opportunity to discuss their individual strengths and needs with their supporters. AB 1663 recognizes that incapacitated adults may have differing needs over the course of their lifetime and permits them to change the arrangement as needed.
Contact an Experienced Trust and Estate Administration Attorney Today
Gov. Newsom’s decision to sign Assembly Bill 1663 into law has major implications for estate planning in the Golden State. If you need help managing a traditional conservatorship or exploring the opportunities provided by supported decision-making, please send the Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis, Inc. a message online, or call us at 1-800-756-5596 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.