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AB-596 Appointed legal counsel.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/11/2021 09:00 PM
AB596:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 596


Introduced by Assembly Member Nguyen

February 11, 2021


An act to add Sections 1473 and 1475 to the Probate Code, relating to conservatorships.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 596, as introduced, Nguyen. Appointed legal counsel.
The Guardianship-Conservatorship Law authorizes the court to appoint private legal counsel for a ward, a proposed ward, a conservatee, or a proposed conservatee in any proceeding under its provisions if the court determines the person is not otherwise represented by legal counsel and that the appointment would be helpful to the resolution of the matter or is necessary to protect the person’s interests. The law requires the court to appoint the public defender or private counsel to represent the interest of a conservatee, proposed conservatee, or person alleged to lack legal capacity for assistance in particular proceedings that include, among others, proceedings to establish a conservatorship or to remove the conservator.
This bill would require an attorney, who is appointed under these provisions and determines that a conservatee or proposed conservatee is unable to communicate, to report the nature of that inability to the court, and would require the court, upon a determination of the inability to communicate, to discharge the appointed attorney and appoint a guardian ad litem. The bill would specifically require an attorney who is appointed under these provisions to represent a conservatee, a proposed conservatee, or person alleged to lack legal capacity to act as an advocate for the client, and would prohibit the attorney from substituting their own judgment for that of the client’s expressed interests.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 1473 is added to the Probate Code, to read:

1473.
 If an attorney appointed pursuant to this chapter determines that the conservatee or proposed conservatee is unable to communicate, then the attorney shall report the nature of that inability to the court. The court shall make a determination as to the allegation of the person’s inability to communicate, based on affidavits and declarations, or by evidentiary hearing, as the court deems appropriate. If the court determines that the conservatee or proposed conservatee is unable to communicate, the court shall discharge the appointed attorney and shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the conservatee or proposed conservatee, notwithstanding any provision of this chapter.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1475 is added to the Probate Code, to read:

1475.
 An attorney appointed pursuant to Section 1470 or 1471 to represent a conservatee, a proposed conservatee, or person alleged to lack legal capacity shall act as an advocate for the client and shall not substitute the attorney’s own judgment for that of the client’s expressed interests.