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Conservatorship

What is a Conservatorship? Why is it important or useful to know about?

Conservatorship cases are those in which the court appoints a person, a professional fiduciary, or an organization (the “conservator”) to care for the person or estate of an adult (the “conservatee”) who is unable to care from themselves or their finances.  In cases where a person has a durable power of attorney or an advanced health care directive in place, a conservatorship may not be necessary.  In the case where someone has no directives and lacks the capacity to create these documents, then a Conservatorship may be necessary.

There are various types of conservatorships. There is a conservatorship of the person and of the estate. A conservatorship of the person is put in place to make medical decisions and for caring for all personal needs. A conservatorship of the estate is put in place for the management of a person’s finances if they are susceptible to undue influence or just unable to manage them on themselves.  

The designation of conservatorships is based on each individual’s circumstance and on the California Probate Code. The two main types of conservatorships are Probate Conservatorships and Lanterman-Petris- Short (LPS) Conservatorships.

Probate Conservatorships include:

  • Temporary Conservatorships – this is a short-term conservatorship of adults who can not take care of themselves or their finances. They are often elderly people but can also be younger people depending on what causes their incapacity. The temporary conservator is limited in their powers.
  • General Conservatorships - conservatorship of adults who cannot take care of themselves or their finances. They are often elderly people but can also be younger people depending on what causes their incapacity.
  • Limited Conservatorships – conservatorships of adults who are developmentally disabled and are not able to care for themselves or their finances. The limited conservator is limited in their powers.

Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Conservatorships include:

  • These conservatorships are in place to care for adults with serious mental health illnesses who are unable to care for themselves and/or their finances. This type of conservatorship is initiated by the government or a health care professional.

If you have identified that a person you know may need to be conserved or if you need assistance with a contest of a conservatorship petitioned by someone else, give our office attorneys a call.