Plan For Your Future Tomorrow


Guardianship Attorney in Oakland, California

Have your thoughts been occupied about the well-being and care of a family member–whether it’s an aging parent or an incapacitated loved one–who cannot make decisions on their own lately? These thoughts may keep you awake at night and cause distress because you might think there is nothing you can do. Fortunately, there may be a way to help your loved one–and that’s through establishing guardianship.  

At Law Offices of Gary R. Kershner, I understand that guardianship can provide the much-needed legal framework to protect the safety of a family member. However, this arrangement is often viewed as a last resort for families whose loved ones have lost or are losing the ability to care for themselves.

As a guardianship attorney in Oakland, California, I can help determine if this arrangement is right for you and, if necessary, explore alternative options to secure a better future for your loved one.  

What Is Guardianship? 

Guardianship is a legal arrangement in which a court appoints an individual to make decisions for another person who is unable to do so themselves. This could be due to age, incapacity, or disability. The guardian has the legal authority to make personal, medical, and financial decisions on behalf of the ward (the person under guardianship). 

Conservatorship vs Guardianship in California 

In California, the terms "guardianship" and "conservatorship" are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different legal relationships in the state:  

  • Guardianship: Guardianship is generally set up for minors who need someone to take on the role of a parent. This can happen if the parents are deceased, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to care for their children. 

  • Conservatorship: Conversely, conservatorship is designed for adults who cannot manage their daily lives due to physical or mental limitations. This could include elderly individuals with dementia or adults with severe disabilities. According to the website of the Judicial Branch of California, conservatorship can be general (the conservator has all powers and responsibilities) and limited (the conservator’s powers are strictly limited).  

However, since many people in California are more familiar with the term “guardianship” when referring to the care of an incapacitated adult, I’m going to use this term to make sure everyone is on the same page.  

Guardianship of the Estate vs Guardianship of the Person 

When it comes to guardianship, there are two main types to consider: 

Guardianship of the Person 

Guardianship of the person deals with personal and medical decisions. The guardian is responsible for the overall well-being of the ward, including healthcare, living arrangements, and education. 

Guardianship of the Estate 

On the other hand, guardianship of the estate involves managing the financial affairs of the ward. The guardian will handle assets, income, investments, and other financial matters to ensure that the ward's needs are met. 

In some cases, both types of guardianships may be necessary, requiring careful coordination to ensure the best interests of the ward are always prioritized. 

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Pros and Cons of Guardianship Arrangements 

Before proceeding with guardianship, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of this legal arrangement. 

Pros of guardianship: 

  • Protection: Provides legal protection and ensures the ward's best interests are met. 

  • Authority: Grants the guardian legal authority to make crucial decisions. 

  • Support: Offers the ward a support system for personal, medical, and financial needs. 

Cons of guardianship:  

  • Complexity: Legal processes can be time-consuming and complicated. 

  • Cost: Legal and court fees can add up. 

  • Restrictions: The arrangement limits the ward's independence and decision-making abilities. 

By understanding these factors, you can make a more informed decision about whether guardianship is the right choice for your particular situation. Alternatively, you can reach out to my office and schedule a free consultation. As an Oakland guardianship attorney, I can provide you with legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.  

Less Restrictive Alternatives to Guardianship 

If the idea of full guardianship seems too restrictive, there are several less restrictive alternatives that may be more suitable for your situation:  

  • Power of attorney: A power of attorney (POA) allows an individual (e.g., a would-be ward in a guardianship arrangement) to appoint someone (the would-be guardian) to make financial and medical decisions on their behalf. This arrangement can be customized to fit specific needs and is generally easier and less costly than guardianship.  

  • Advance directive: An advance directive is a legal document that outlines a person's preferences for medical care in the event they become incapacitated. It ensures that their healthcare choices are honored without the need for a guardian.  

  • Special needs trust: A special needs trust is designed to provide for the financial needs of a person with disabilities without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits. This can be a powerful tool for families looking to secure the future of their loved ones without the full constraints of guardianship.  

Everyone's situation is unique, which is why you might benefit from scheduling a consultation with a California guardianship attorney who can identify potential alternatives to guardianship in your specific situation.  

What Services Do I Offer?  

When a client contacts me and makes an informed decision to establish guardianship, I provide the client with guidance and support at every step of the way, including: 

  • Filing guardianship application in the appropriate jurisdiction 

  • Advising on the selection and appointment of a guardian 

  • Representing the client’s interests during legal proceedings and hearings 

  • Exploring alternative options to preserve the ward’s rights 

  • Helping with guardian reports and other accountability requirements 

  • Terminating guardianship when necessary 

From the moment you start working with the Law Offices of Gary R. Kershner, my goal is that you will feel your case is in capable hands. That’s because I’m committed to zealously advocating for my clients and providing them with the compassionate guidance they need.  

Why Choose an Oakland Guardianship Attorney From Law Offices of Gary R. Kershner?  

At Law Offices of Gary R. Kershner, I stand out in Oakland, the location that may seem saturated with firms offering similar services, because of my:  

  • Unparalleled experience: With decades of experience behind my back, I understand how to help my clients complete the guardianship process without complications and in the most stress-free manner possible.  

  • Compassionate approach: I understand the emotional toll of guardianship proceedings on those who cannot care for themselves and their families. That’s why I strive to approach each case with the empathy and sensitivity it deserves.  

  • Personalized service: I approach each case I handle with a personalized approach. You'll receive responsive service and one-on-one attention from me to ensure that all your concerns are properly addressed.  

  • Community-centric approach: With an office in Oakland, I am deeply rooted in this community. I’m dedicated to serving my neighbors in the city and surrounding areas with utmost professionalism and integrity.  

Above all, I understand that each person and family has a unique set of needs and circumstances. I don’t believe in a cookie-cutter approach when it comes to estate planning, which is why my clients can always rely on my personable and knowledgeable service.  

Whatever your needs are–whether it’s setting up guardianship, opposing the appointment of a guardian, handling disputes, or terminating guardianship–I can help.

Guardianship Attorney in Oakland, California

As your trusted attorney at the Law Offices of Gary R. Kershner, I understand how taxing and confusing guardianship proceedings can be. Without legal counsel, you might question your every step, which means someone you care about might be running out of their precious time. My office is based in Oakland, California, but I serve clients throughout the Bay Area, including Berkeley, Alameda, Emeryville, Rockridge, Piedmont, Fruitvale, Fremont, San Jose, San Francisco, and beyond. Get in touch today to request your free consultation.