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Possible to establish a conservatorship when conservatee is out of state?

American Canyon, CA |

My mom has Alzheimers. She can't take care of her financial affairs. I have a power of attorney and I'm trustee in her trust. My two sisters took my mom to Hawaii and are now living there with another relative. I see charges to my mom's account that include Nail Shops, McDonalds, etc (presumably my sisters are using mom's debit card). My sisters fight with me over how to deal with mom's finances. My oldest sister calls herself "mom's agent" and has rented out mom's house to a friend for only $400, which does not pay for the whole mortgage. I want to establish a conservatorship so I can have full control and not have my sisters plunder mom's money. Can i have a conservatorship over the estate while my mom is in Hawaii? Conservatorship over the person? I already have a POA.

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Attorney answers 4


If your mother is now domiciled in Hawaii, you would need to petition a court in Hawaii to be appointed as your mother's conservator. Given what your sisters are doing with your mother's assets, I'd strongly urge you to retain counsel in Hawaii to be appointed conservator of her estate. If you think it best to have your mother stay in Hawaii, you could ask the court to appoint one of your sisters to be conservator of the person. If you plan on bringing your mother back to California, then you would want to be appointed conservator of the person, as well.

Good luck to you.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.



My mom has been in CA all of her life. My sisters "kidnapped" her to Hawaii two months ago. They said they are going there for a vacation, and now they say it's permanent. They won't let me speak to mom. The real property is located in CA. I'm in CA. I want to petition for conservatorship here in CA b/c I don't think you can say she's domiciled there, if she's only been there for two months, was essentially "kidnapped" and taken there. Do you think I would be able to petition there? Also, if I petition there, I may "lose control" of the process since my sister lives there. What do you think? Thanks for your thoughts.

Joseph Michael Pankowski Jr

Joseph Michael Pankowski Jr


Your best bet is to consult with California counsel to see if your local court would be likely to grant your conservatorship petition. In my experience, such cases are extremely difficult, but perhaps the California courts are more lenient.

Lawrence A Friedman

Lawrence A Friedman


I agree with Joseph but add if you possibly can get your mother back to CA and then file for conservatorship in CA, you will be in a much stronger position than if your mom stays in HI.


I would agree with my colleague about the necessity of petitioning in Hawaii for a conservatorship. It could then be transferred back to the original home state. If your sisters are "plundering" your mother's estate, you might want to report it to Adult Protective Services. You mentioned that you are the trustee. I would expect that all of her property and accounts are in the trust so you as trustee would already have control. Whatever you do, expect a fight. You need to retain a good elder law attorney not just in Hawaii, but also in the state in which the trust is drafted. Search on AVVO or go to the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys at Don't delay.


I agree with my colleagues. A conservatorship usually has to be done in the state where the person is domiciled. Please consult with an experienced attorney in Hawaii to make sure.

This posting is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. For more information, please visit


If mom has Alzheimers, she could be legally incapacitated (can't make legal decisions herself like moving out of state and can not sign or change any legal documents). You need to have her estate planning documents reviewed by a local attorney ASAP (then possibly a Hawaii attorney). There may be a provision in the power of attorney in those documents that nominates the agent as the conservator if/when the maker of the trust (your mother in this case) becomes mentally or physically incapacitated certified by a treating physician. In this is the case, there may be a court proceeding, but you may have an easier time getting her returned home because her estate plan may already names the agent (of the POA) as conservator. Also, since you are the existing trustee, you have a legal duty to manage and protect her estate. You would have the authority to contact the banks and control those accounts. Further, as trustee and agent, you should have the power to manage your mother's property; meaning you alone can rent mom's home.

The is legal information, not legal advice.

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Mr.Scalise may be reached at 805-244-6850 or by email ( My responses to questions posted here intended as helpful legal information not legal advice. The information I post does not create an attorney-client relationship. Mr. Scalise is licensed to practice law in California. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state, and retain him/her. Mr. Scalise provides “unbundled” services for specific assistance with a specific issue.O work with clients throughout California.

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