Right to counsel

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Legislation, Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Ward

Cal. Health & Safety Code § 416.95 requires appointment of counsel for an adult developmentally disabled person from whom guardianship or conservatorship is sought, while Cal. Prob. Code § 1471(a) requires appointment of counsel upon request for indigent wards in all other guardianship/conservatorships. If not requested, appointment is discretionary with the judge and appropriate where "appointment would be helpful to the resolution of the matter or is necessary to protect the [person's] interests." Cal. Prob. Code § 1470.

 

If court-ordered medical treatment is sought for a ward or conservatee, then "Upon the filing of the petition, unless an attorney is already appointed the court shall appoint the public defender or private counsel under Section 1471, to consult with and represent the ward or conservatee at the hearing on the petition and, if that appointment is made, Section 1472 applies." Cal. Prob. Code § 2357.  

 

See also Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 5350.5 (if court refers conservatee for assessment “to determine if the conservatee has a treatable mental illness, including whether the conservatee is gravely disabled as a result of a mental disorder or impairment by chronic alcoholism, and is unwilling to accept, or is incapable of accepting, treatment voluntarily”, then court must appoint counsel for conservatee if indigent); 5365 (for conservatorships of gravely disabled persons, “A hearing shall be held on all petitions under this chapter within 30 days of the date of the petition. The court shall appoint the public defender or other attorney for the conservatee or proposed conservatee within five days after the date of the petition.”)

Cite: Cal. Health & Safety Code § 416.95, Cal. Prob. Code § 1471(a)

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no