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Darlin, my husband was in a very similar situation to yours with his dad, who had been "difficult" for a long time, until things went terribly badly and he ended up with no savings and quite a lot of debt due to very bad decision making (vascular dementia).

My FIL's guardianship was very-much contested, and I accompanied my husband through the whole process, including driving a cursing FIL to the courthouse! What countrymouse wrote about you all being on the same side is very true. While your dad's lawyer and the judge (and possibly the jury) will be doing their best to protect your dad's rights, once you establish that he is not capable, you will likely find that they are on your side too. To help make that happen, I'd recommend you list and document as much evidence of your dad's incapacity as you can gather. In our case, we had to let my FIL make some bad decisions just so we could present evidence that he needed help managing his finances.

As for what to tell him, we went the route of calmly and openly sharing with him everything that was going on. He was pretty nasty to us, but since it was so obvious to us that we were right in doing it, we just treated him with respect and did a lot of repeating. :-) I think that deep down he knew he needed his son's help, and that will probably be true for your dad too.

Good luck! Remember that you are doing the right thing for him. It's certainly not easy, but in the long run, it will be worth it.
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Darlin May 8, 2019
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I really appreciate your encouraging words.

I believe I have someone that will take my dad to the initial hearing, where he will have the opportunity to speak for himself. I am willing to gamble that the judge will not appoint a public defender after hearing him talk, and that my dad doesn't want one. All other documents from MD and investigator are in order. I'm hopeful this will all just play out as it is meant to and that I will soon be able to step up his care and home maintenance little by little, and keep him as content as possible. He is so in awe of the beauty of where he lives-- it's a real blessing that helps make all the other icky stuff easier to handle--so far.
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When I filed for guardianship of Luz (DW) I told the attorney that I was doing it to protect her from the unscrupulous people out there that would try to take away everything she had, including me. I told Luz what I was doing and she never understood what I was saying.
I never had to worry about anyone trying to separate us or to wipe out her accounts.
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Thank you so much DeAnna for taking the time to share all this info, I greatly appreciate it!
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Darlin,
I did not have to go through a jury trial and neither did my Dad when he petitioned for conservatorship of his Mother (my Grandmother) so my experiences will not be very helpful.  I did some internet searching "CA jury trial conservatorship" & found some attorneys & websites that mention the conservatorship through a jury trial.  Maybe you can look at these websites and see if they can give you some insight as to how to handle your Dad and his contested conservatorship.

https://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/handbook.pdf
"Handbook for Conservators-- 2016 Revised Edition"

http://www.canhr.org/publications/PDFs/conservatorship_defense_guide.pdf
"CALIFORNIA CONSERVATORSHIP DEFENSE --A GUIDE FOR ADVOCATES"

https://brownwhitelaw.com/when-must-a-conservatee-demand-a-jury-trial-under-californias-probate-code-and-code-of-civil-procedure/

"When Must A Conservatee Demand a Jury Trial Under California’s Probate Code and Code of Civil Procedure?"
     California law treats probate conservatorship cases as quasi-criminal because the appointment of a conservator has a profound impact on the liberty interests of the proposed conservatee. California Probate Code §1827 therefore grants a proposed conservatee the right to a trial by jury regarding appointment of a conservator. A proposed conservatee’s right to a trial by jury is also protected by Welfare and Institutions Code §5350. This is the only probate issue that can be heard by a jury under normal circumstances.
By Mark H. McGuire,  associate attorney with Brown White & Osborn, LLP... He is also a court appointed attorney in Riverside County, representing minors and conservatees in contested guardianship and conservatorship matters.

http://www.elder-law-advocate.com/about/trial-by-jury
LAW OFFICE OF GEORGE F. DICKERMAN
3879 Brockton Avenue
Riverside, California USA 92501
Tele: (951) 788-2156
In a conservatorship case, for example, a conservatee (the alleged incompetent adult) can have a jury trial, but only to decide whether or not a conservatorship should be established. Once that issue is answered, the jury is dismissed and the judge then makes all other rulings.

If you or a loved one has a problem concerning an elder or senior law issue, then pick up the phone and give us a call. We’re here to help. The initial telephone consultation is always free.

https://www.arcr.com/uploads/pdfs/ARCR_RepresentingCEE.pdf
"Representing the Conservatee in a Contested Probate Conservatorship Proceeding"

 https://www.countyofsb.org/ttcpapg/pubguard/procs.aspx
County of Santa Barbara 
Public Guardian Process
Probate Conservatorship
Probate conservatorships are for people gravely disabled due to a degenerative mental and/or physical disease. 

The Probate Investigator interviews the person being considered for conservatorship (the conservatee) and talks to concerned parties, including doctors, family, neighbors, friends, social workers, etc... And, since a conservatorship is considered a last resort, alternatives are sought and the reasons they are not available or appropriate is documented.
If the criteria for conservatorship is met, a written report is submitted to County Counsel, where the legal paperwork is prepared. County Counsel files the petition and is assigned a court date. In this interim period, the Court has its own investigator who interviews the client, reads the report and submits a recommendation to the judge, either agreeing or disagreeing with the need for conservatorship. A Public Defender is assigned to represent the proposed conservatee and inquire if they want to contest the conservatorship.  If they do, the case may go to either a court or jury trial...If the person agrees to the conservatorship, then a Superior Court judge will make the decision at a court hearing, based on all of the evidence presented.

If the conservatorship is granted, the Public Guardian Deputies manage the person’s care and finances.

Hope these websites & PDFs can help you.
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I started to read some of the responses but it sounded like some became too contentious and I don't feel like reading that here. I did however read you addition with more details and I'm not entirely clear as to why you need to help him fight this. I would think the very fact that he is unable to get himself to court dates or take care of the details needed to fight it is the very proof he needs this protection. Also the proper people have done their due diligence, explained the process as well as the reasons to him, I'm not sure I would continue to discuss it with him and keep it fresh in his mind. Let him forget, you know it's all on the up and up, you have had the discussion with him and will happily answer his questions and discuss it if he brings it up but you don't have to anymore. The whole reason you are going through this is because he simply isn't capable and needs someone watching out for him so that's what you are doing. I was going to offer ideas about how to maybe bring him around and get his cooperation but it sounds like that ship has sailed so I would stop trying to engage him on it at this point. I don't mean hide anything or lie to him just don't be the source of repeat information, he has a court appointed person for that and made his own choice not to have an attorney, let them deal with informing him.

I know exactly what you mean with the "fearfulness" or anxiety that can set in and send them spiraling for weeks when it comes to new concepts they know are big/important. My mom gets this way over knowing about any appointment too far ahead of time now and we have learned to give her enough warning for the occasion but not too much. Another reason to leave it be and let him simply not follow through on fighting it. I am curious, if you have been paying all of his bills for 8 months with your money how does he think they are being paid? Might he give you the ability to do this with his accounts for him if say the electricity was shut off because he forgot to pay it? How did you get everything changed to your name without POA or his consent?

He is lucky to have you and I so appreciate the extreme's you are going to to keep him in his house and where he's happy. I'm sorry you are having to deal with this legal stuff making it all the more difficult but sounds like you knew his aging wasn't going to be easy. I hope you have family support. Good luck
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Darlin May 3, 2019
Thank you for your input and well chosen words--I appreciate it! My dad may have to appear at the initial hearing in a couple weeks, where the judge will decide if if goes to jury or not. I don't have to go to this court date and my attorney advised me to get someone else to take my dad. I have to arrange that, call my dad the day before and again an hour before so he has some clue that he is going somewhere. I will have to tell him a very simplified version of what's going on.

I was able to get all his bills changed to my name by the sheer grace of God. He lives in a very small town, some of the providers did conference calls with me and dad, and could see what we were dealing with. It took many phone calls and some public crying!
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Thank you for clarifying your Dad's situation and for the update on the investigator's visit.  I am sorry that your Dad has refused the services of an attorney.  Please keep us updated in regards to what is going on with your Dad and the guardianship.
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I had to seek guardianship of my dad a year ago due to his advancing dementia and his inability to make decisions. I told him what was going on at the time he was served papers and the court visitor went to see him. He was still cognizant enough to call his attorney and fight it. We ended up keeping the whole thing out of court. Neither attorney wanted him to go in front of the judge. He fought the guardianship but we were able to get to some agreements over his biggest sticking points (i.e. not wanting to move from his house and I am unable to sell his cars) and he agreed to it. He still hates it. Thinks I have too much control of his money but at this point it is totally necessary. Fast forward a year, and I hate this. It is destroying my marriage. I work full time, trying to have my own life. This is a big strain on my own time and mental abilities. I get no support from my husband but I have a great counselor I can vent to. I am under a great deal of pressure from his care service to move him out of his house and he absolutely won't go. I have quickly learned that just because I have guardianship, this does not mean that he will do what I say. I'm terribly stuck in the middle. I am getting closer and closer to calling my attorney and walking away from this and having a professional guardian assigned (his care service has pushed me many times to do this) but my siblings would never forgive me (I have 3 siblings who don't help with this. They are merely waiting for their inheritance.) I would tell anyone to think twice about doing this.
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Darlin May 3, 2019
Thanks for sharing your story Babs. It may very well go that way for me a well, time will tell.
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Darlin, it takes two to make a fight.

Your father is resisting the whole concept of surrendering his autonomy. That is, ironically enough, quite rational. Who wouldn't?

You, however, are not fighting that, because you are not unsympathetic to his wishes. You are dealing with a different thing, namely the effective management of his life support systems.

Those life support systems include access to legal services, which you are, very correctly, ensuring for him.

It's a demanding, time-consuming, complex and thankless project. But it *isn't* a fight! You and Dad are on the same side - his side.
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Darlin May 2, 2019
He is a fighter by nature, He doesn't understand anything about the conservatorship or what it means. This could become a jury trial. It would be nice to hear from someone who has been through this aspect of conservtorship.
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It was suggested 5 years ago by several agencies that I gain conservatorship of my Dad after he totaled his car and almost killed someone. ( No driving since then.) I knew he would fight it and I did not want to make things more difficult for either of us so I've waited until it has become absolutely necessary. He has mental health issues that far predate his dementia. I had to put his bills in my name and take over paying them about 8 months ago. I pay them with my own money. I've never been able to get him to sign anything--POA or bank account, trust etc.

He lives on his own, a good neighbor brings him dinner every night and visits and takes him to the grocery and to the dentist. He loves to be outdoors and is very happy on his property. I plan to help him stay there, with whatever help I can get him.

As far as the investigator I told Dad a lady was coming to explain the paperwork ( the notice he was served) and that she might like to see his artwork.
The court investigator says there is no question he has dementia--she was very kind and walked his property with him and looked at his paintings as she and I had arranged beforehand on the phone. She then explained the conservatorship ( several times)--he could not grasp it but refused it when asked. He also refuses an attorney.

I now have a contested conservatorship. Everything is in place with doctors certificate and all that. But... now I have to help him fight me on it!!!
I have to remind him of the court dates and get him rides or drive 8 hours each way to take him. Apparently I don't have to go to the initial hearing but now he does even though the doctor checked the box on the form that said it would agitate and disorient him.

He will forget the details of all this but it sets a fearfulness in him that can last weeks or months. I work really had to keep him in his "happy place".

The court investigator who has been doing this for 40 years says she's never seen a case like this, as far as someone being so far gone with dementia but still so full of fight.

The outcome is out of my hands now. I am confident I will get the conservatorship the only other alternative is a public guardian. Trying to keep him calm through all this is my current challenge.
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I haven't seen anybody accusing Darlin of wrongdoing, simply stating the facts. I've never gone through the process but taking away anyone's self determination is a Very Serious Thing and not taken lightly by the courts. It seems all well and good when the person seeking guardianship has the person's best interests at heart, but an impartial court must always be alert for those who would attempt take away those rights fraudulently, that's why both sides are given the opportunity to present their case.
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Darlin,

You have to realize that its very hard to express what you are trying to get across on a forum. You don't see the persons face to read them.

Your further explanation brought more to light. I didn't realize the person you r seeking guardianship for is served papers. I guess it would be logical, but if its someone with severe Dementia, a little mute. My Mom would never have been able to read and understand a petition.

Good Luck.
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OldSailor May 2, 2019
JoAnn, every body gets served papers. I even had to mail a copy to myself and my wife separately.
At least the last time it did not have to be send registered mail.
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The delivered paperwork is one way for the courts by letting the individual know they have to appear in court to let them know if the person is cogniscent. If they cannot remember the date or how to get to court, this no show signals appropriate parties of the issue. I suspect that your parent may not ask you about the paperwork . You can tell your parent that it is just not you but professionals are also reporting on the evaluation
.
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Darlin May 1, 2019
I was told that if he no shows they will just postpone the hearing, since the investigator had to site that he refuses conservator ship. Even with his refusal of an attorney the judge can appoint a public defender to him and it can become a jury trail.
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Darlin you will be making a mistake to leave. We all give our honest opinions here; that is rather valuable. We can each only state what we think and describe what's worked for us.

No one is making judgements.
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Darlin May 1, 2019
Thank you Barb, I will hang in there.
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Darlin,
I apologize if what I said feels like a "slap".  The conservatorship/guardianship process is different for each of us.  A lot depends on how cognizant or competent the person being served the papers is and how much that person understands or comprehends what is going on. 

My lawyer didn't want me to tell "white lies" to my Mom during the guardianship/conservatorship process because my Mom was having trouble figuring out what was real and what was fiction.

You know what type of comments calm your Dad and what type of comments tend to upset your Dad.  Use that information as a guide during the guardianship/conservatorship process.

We do care.  We can only answer based on our own experiences and for many of us who went through the guardianship/conservatorship process, we still don't know what the best answer is.  Sorry that I can't be more helpful.
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Darlin May 1, 2019
Thank you DeeAnna. I guess I really didn't give adequate information and backstory before I asked the question.
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When I petitioned for guardianship & conservatorship of my Mom, the Court appointed an "Attorney Ad Litem" to represent my Mom during the investigation and petitioning phase as well as during the court proceedings.  This "Attorney Ad Litem" talked with Mom, the nursing home staff, my brother and myself and our attorneys about Mom's situation.  She was the person who decided that Mom was not competent when Mom revoked my DPOA and named our family attorney as Mom's new POA.  And the "Attorney Ad Litem" was the person who decided to revoke Mom's NEW POA Appointment and reinstate me as Mom's DPOA.  If we had had to go to Court and legally set up the Guardianship & Conservatorship, then the "Attorney Ad Litem" would have represented my Mom during those proceedings.

You stated that you told your parent "that if he receives some legal paperwork not to worry that I will take care of all of it."  Unfortunately, since you are the Petitioner of the Guardianship/Conservatorship, you can no longer "take care of" any of your parent's legal papers.  That will be considered as "conflict of interest' or as interference by you and will NOT bode well for you during the proceedings.  The "Attorney Ad Lidem" is your parent's LEGAL representative and that person is the one who should take care of ALL legal papers for your parent.  If an "Attorney Ad Litem" has not or is not appointed to your parent, then you need to insist that one be appointed.  (However, some states do not require an Attorney Ad Litem to be appointed.)

I am disappointed that you lied so "badly" to your parent in regards to the court investigator as that person is going to be quite honest and up front with your parent as to why she (the court investigator) is talking with your parent.  {Now...whether your parent understands or comprehends what the court investigator said is another matter.}  If your parent asks the court investigator if she/he "wants to see his paintings", don't be surprised if she/he states that there is no reason to see the paintings as they have nothing to do with what is being discussed. 

DO NOT be surprised if your parent becomes upset that you have petitioned for guardianship and/or conservatorship without telling them.  Some people have posted their journey through guardianship/conservatorship on this Forum and the journey was/is quite emotional and stressful for the parent and for the adult child who had petitioned for guardianship/conservatorship.  And no matter how soothing or "sugar-coated" your explanation to your parent is, your parent is human and will feel betrayed, angry, upset, paranoid, and all of the other human feelings that a person can feel when someone they love "takes away their right to control their own life".

Please feel free to vent your feelings (and let us know how your parent is reacting) to the guardianship/conservatorship proceedings and to ask questions.  This will NOT be an easy process and we are here to support you as needed.   {{{HUGS}}}
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Darlin Apr 30, 2019
Wow, that's like a slap... then a "hug". There are a lot of assumptions here that you are responding to. Not helpful.
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I agree , don’t tell them anything. But I would point out that most states will follow the legal process of a mental exam, papers will be served on your parent and a guardian ad litem will be appointed who will visit your parent.

With my folks, I stayed the hell away and let the process go forth. Two factors saved me from the wrath of my parents: The dementia was pretty advanced, not much short term memory and the people involved were all very tactful in dealing with my folks.

Your parent may may be more cognizant than mine were but do what you have to do to take care of them.

oh...just saw your new post. What to tell him? Anything that keeps him calm. My fibs at that point with my folks were academy award winning.
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Darlin, I am so sad that you are going through this awful process. I have not been there, hoping that by bumping this up you can get some better advice,.
So, dad will be represented. It may feel adversarial, but you are doing the right thing. ((((((Hugs))))
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Darlin Apr 30, 2019
Thanks, I appreciate you kind words. I think I'm going to get off this website, most peoples responses are pretty mean.
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Yeah, I must not have stated the question correctly! This is something that is underway, not that I'm contemplating. I meant that I would like suggestions for wording it. He has been served papers and a court investigator will be there tomorrow. I like to have good wording for things. Especially since I will need to restate it often. Also, it is possible he could go to court with a public defender.
I have told him, that if he receives some legal paperwork not to worry that I will take care of all of it. I have told him the court investigator is a lady I met that wants to see his paintings and that she is there to help with paperwork too. That went over fine for the moment because I got him at a calm time.
I'm just wondering if anyone has some nice soothing statements that can help allay his fears when he gets agitated or paranoid about all this, which is bound to happen.
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Why would you tell them that?

I assume that you and others feel that your parent is no longer competent.

Why would you stress them with "real world" stressors?

How about "Dad, we're taking care of everything".
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Darlin Apr 29, 2019
Yes, that's a good thing to say. That is what I'm leading with!!
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The only way u can do this if the person is found incompetent. If your parent suffers from Dementia, I would not even bother. They will not understand or forget anyway. So, I wouldn't do it.
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Darlin Apr 29, 2019
He received (was officially served) paperwork stating that this is happening. It would be lovely if that didn't have to happen but it does. Also a court investigator comes to visit. So the way needs to smoothed for that too.
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