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Can I take over as her conservator from a private fiduciary?

Dear Advocate:

A few years ago, I petitioned the court to have my mother conserved, but I found a private fiduciary to act as her conservator. Recently, my mother has been telling me that the fiduciary is mismanaging her money. I believe my mother. I would like to take over as her conservator. Is that possible? What should I do?

Vexed in Vista

Dear Vexed in Vista,

You can file a formal complaint against your mother’s private fiduciary with the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau, which is under the California Department of Consumer Affairs. While the Bureau can issue citations and fines against the private fiduciary, as well as suspend or revoke the fiduciary’s license, it cannot resolve civil complaints against the fiduciary, such as the recovery of your mother’s money that the fiduciary mismanaged. You will need the help of legal aid or an attorney to resolve that.

To replace the private fiduciary as your mother’s conservator, you will need to show the court that you are a more suitable conservator. Courts will favor family members over third parties if all other qualifications are equal, but this may not be enough. The court may require you to show that her current conservator is inadequate or you are somehow better. For instance, a citation from the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau or your mother’s preference of you as her conservator may help convince the court to allow you to replace the fiduciary.