Wieckowski bill to protect conservatees' assets signed by Governor Newsom

Conservators must get authorization from a court before selling a conservatee's home

October 12, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Senator Bob Wieckowski’s bill to provide conservatees more protection of their benefits and personal residence was signed into law tonight by Governor Newsom.  SB 303 provides greater oversight of the removal of a conservatee from her residence and the sale of her home.

“The bill expands the security of conservatees’ benefits and residence, two of their most important assets,” said Wieckowski, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It provides greater oversight of their government benefits and raises the standard by requiring a showing of clear and convincing evidence to the court of the need and benefit of selling her home.  A home sale may be necessary and unavoidable, but it should be done only in the best interest of the conservatee.  Removing someone from her home before it is necessary can have a negative effect on the individual’s finances and health.”

A conservatorship occurs when a judge appoints a person or entity to manage the financial matters and personal care of an individual who is no longer able to manage his own affairs.  Current law authorizes a conservator to sell a conservatee’s residence if specific information about the sale and communication with the conservatee is given to the court. The presumption is the personal residence is the least restrictive appropriate residence.  If removal of the conservatee from the residence is appropriate, the presumption may be overcome by a preponderance of the evidence.

Linda Kincaid of the Coalition for Elder and Disability Rights (CEDAR) said SB 303 is needed to protect the conservatee.

“It will curb unfettered enrichment of conservators and attorneys, allowing more seniors and dependent adults to remain in their homes and in the care of their loved ones,” Kincaid said when the Legislature approved the bill.

In addition to CEDAR, SB 303 is supported by California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), Disability Rights California and the National Association of Social Workers.

Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th Senate District, which includes parts of Alameda and Santa Clara counties.