AB937 states that a conservatee has the right to have visitors, to make and receive phone calls, and to receive personal mail. Although these basics rights are already affirmed in California statute, they are not specifically clarified in California Probate Code.
Some conservators take the position that they have absolute power over a conservatee. Santa Clara County’s Public Guardian took that position until flagrant abuse was exposed by ABC7 I-Team in San Francisco. A Los Angeles County Deputy Public Guardian recently expressed her opinion that conservatees lose their personal rights when they are conserved.
AB937 corrects that misunderstanding.
SECTION 1. Section 2351 of the Probate Code is amended to read:
2351. (a) Subject to subdivision (b), the guardian or conservator, but not a limited conservator, has the care, custody, and control of, and has charge of the education of, the ward or conservatee. This control shall not extend to personal rights retained by the conservatee, including, but not limited to, the right to receive visitors, telephone calls, and personal mail, unless specifically limited by court order.
AB937 went to Governor Brown for signature on August 12, 2013. Elder rights advocates and disability rights advocates throughout the country are urging the Governor to support personal rights and human dignity by signing AB937.
Comments to Governor Brown can be submitted by email.