I am dressed like a lawyer this morning. Maggie and Steve and I head to court for the hearing on Maggie's conservatorship. I am basically asking the court to appoint me to do exactly what I have done for 18 years. When the child is under 18 and a minor, no conservatorship is necessary because the parent is legally making the decisions anyway. After 18, the parent has zero authority. Maggie turned 18 in March. Obviously, Maggie cannot make decisions for herself, or at least cannot make people understand what those are. She needs someone running interference for her and I'm asking that person be me.
I am virtually certain this request will be granted. In a case like Maggie's it's merely a formality, though the judge does want to make certain I am the right person for the job. (No one is opposing it.) I learned in the course of this process that only 7% of the conservatorship cases are people with developmental delays. The bulk of the cases are dementia and cases involving the elderly.When one can no longer make decisions for themselves they also need protection because elder abuse runs rampant, especially for those with money. People are ripped off all the time and having the court oversee things hopefully prevents that. Those appointed to serve as conservators have to report to the court periodically and account for the money and treatment of the person conserved. Maggie doesn't have any money, except what she gets from SSI, but I presume I will still have to report to the court on some schedule.
While I am happy that this will be formally in place, I am feeling the weight of the all of this. Perhaps its the court formalities, perhaps it's simply telling the judge in no uncertain terms that my daughter cannot take care of herself, perhaps its just exhaustion after 18 years of doing this; but I approach this hearing with some trepidation. Not a concern that I will "lose" but rather that it is automatic that I will not.
If and when the judge agrees with me that my beautiful, smart, entertaining but very disabled daughter cannot care for herself I will not really feel like celebrating.