A conservator is a responsible person who is authorized by the Court to manage either the estate (financial assets) or the person(physical well-being), or both, of an adult who is physically or mentally impaired(known as “the conservatee”), who is unable to care for himself / herself.
A conservatorship is a court proceeding in which the Judge reviews the paperwork to determine whether the allegedly impaired adult requires a conservator and if the person requesting a conservatorship is the appropriate person to provide the financial and / or physical care and decision-making.
The California Probate Code provides the legal requirements of what paperwork must be filed in order to initiate a conservatorship action, who can act as a conservator and what is required throughout the conservatorship.
In order to initiate a conservatorship, a Petition for Appointment of Probate Conservator is filed with the California Superior Court, preferably in the County where the impaired individual resides.
There are two (2) special types of conservatorships:
- The limited conservatorship is when a judge appoints a responsible person (the conservator) to assist an adult with developmental disabilities (the conservatee) who is unable to provide for her/his personal and/or financial needs.
- An LPS Conservatorship is the legal term used in California giving a responsible adult (conservator) the responsibility to oversee the medical (mental) treatment of an adult (conservatee) who has a serious mental illness. LPS stands for “the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act” found in California Welfare & Institutions Code, beginning with Section 5000, and specifically at Sections 5150, 5151 and 5152. The LPS conservatorship may involve requesting the Court to order the involuntary commitment of the mentally ill person to a mental health institution.
While mentally competent (and without undue duress or control by another), an adult can nominate who they would prefer to act as a conservator in the event of his or her physical or mental incapacity. This selection carries great weight with the Court in determining who will be appointed to act as the conservator. The nomination must be prepared and signed while the adult person is competent and his or her signature must be notarized (signed before a Notary Public and proved to be the person who signed the nomination).
Attorney Linda L. Harper is available to meet with you to determine if a relative, friend or loved one may need a conservator to manage his or her financial affairs and / or obtain the physical and medical care necessary, including proper nutrition and living in a safe environment.
We are here to assist you and provide you with legal advice necessary to determine and protect your and your loved one’s legal rights and personal safety.