AB937 will clarify that a conservatee retains basic personal rights guaranteed in the California Constitution. These rights include the right to receive visitors, the right to telephone calls, and the right to personal mail, unless specifically limited by court order.
They then use their incorrect belief of absolute control to completely isolate conservatee from the outside world. No visitors, no phone calls, no mail from life partner, family, friends, neighbors, clergy, and/or advocates.
AB 937 clarifies the Probate Code to state that in a conservatorship, the conservatee still retains personal rights such as the right to receive visitors, telephone calls and mail, unless these rights are limited by court order or need to be limited to protect the conservatee from abuse.
The bill analysis adds comments from an advocate whose mother was the victim of an abusive conservator.
My mother, Carol Hahn in San Bernardino County, was isolated by her conservator for fifteen months in 2010 and 2011. The conservator allowed no visitation and severely restricted phone calls. Mom’s right to visitation was finally restored by a restraining order against continued isolation. That effort cost family $70K in legal fees. The cost to my mom was far greater. During the time she was isolated, Mom lost her memories of loved ones and she lost the ability to walk.
I soon learned of other victims of the same type of abuse. The Santa Clara County Public Guardian isolated Gisela Riordan and Lillie Scalia beginning in 2010. Gisela was allowed no visitors, phone calls, or mail for two years. Lillie was completely isolated from family for one year; then she was allowed some limited visitation the second year.
Personal rights were restored to Gisela and Lille as a result of media coverage by ABC7 in San Francisco. Lillie has been returned to her home, and Gisela is now allowed visitors. Without media coverage, both women would likely still be prisoners.
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California Senate Judiciary Committee vote to curb elder abuse by conservators