Trusts and Estates

Conservatorship of K.P.

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Cite as Conservatorship of K.P. (2021) 11 Cal.5th 695
Filed June 28, 2021, California Supreme Court

By Daniel C. Kim
Weintraub Tobin Chediak Coleman Grodin Law Corporation

Headnote: LPS Conservatorships – Establishment and Renewal – Elements

Summary: The proposed conservatee’s inability or unwillingness to accept treatment voluntarily is not a necessary prerequisite to the establishment of LPS conservatorships.

In 2008, an LPS conservatorship was established for 23-year-old K.P.  In 2018, the public guardian filed a renewal petition alleging that K.P. remained gravely disabled.  This time, K.P. demanded a jury trial.  At trial the court denied K.P.’s request to modify a jury instruction to require as a separate element a finding that he was unwilling or unable to voluntarily accept meaningful treatment, although it had admitted evidence on the subject for the purpose of establishing whether he suffered from a grave disability.  The jury found K.P. was gravely disabled, and the conservatorship was renewed.  K.P. appealed the court’s refusal to modify the jury instruction. The court of appeal concluded there was no error.

The Supreme Court affirmed. As a matter of statutory interpretation, the capacity or willingness to accept treatment is relevant to the issue of grave disability.  However, is not a separate element that must be proven.  Nor do state and federal due process principles require a finding that the subject is unwilling or unable to voluntarily accept treatment.  LPS conservatorships require only two elements: (1) the subject has a mental health disorder, and (2) as a result of the disorder, the subject is gravely disabled such that he is unable to meet basic survival needs.

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