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In California, an adult can obtain the legal authority to make personal, financial, or legal decisions for another adult by obtaining a court order. This judicial procedure is called a conservatorship. There are several types of conservatorship proceedings, including Conservatorships of the Estate, Conservatorships of the Person, Developmentally Disabled (Limited) Conservatorships, and LPS (Mental Health) Conservatorship.



Conservatorships of the Estate and Conservatorships of the Person


Our clients are concerned about the health and welfare of their loved ones. A Conservatorship of the Estate and a Conservatorship of the Person is appropriate for the elderly or developmentally disabled, typically for those with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and/or Parkinson’s disease.


A conservatorship of the person is a court arrangement where a conservator cares for, protects, and provides for the conservatee’s needs associated with daily life.


A conservator of the estate manages the conservatee’s financial affairs, including paying the bills and collecting the conservatee’s income. A conservator of the estate is required to provide the court with details evidencing how the conservatee's money was spent. The conservator is paid by the conservatee's estate and the court supervises the payments to the conservator.


A conservatorship will continue until the court orders the conservator relieved from his or her duties. This typically occurs if the conservatee dies, the conservatee regains his or her capacity, or if the conservator becomes unable or unwilling to act.


Many clients ask whether a valid power of attorney document will suffice in the place of a conservatorship. While a power of attorney document can authorize the power of attorney holder to accomplish certain tasks of a conservator, a power of attorney cannot prevent the ill person from contracting, conveying property, or falling victim to fraud by unscrupulous persons.



Developmentally Disabled Conservatorships


Also referred to as Limited Conservatorships, this form of conservatorship is created for children who were born with debilitating diseases. Autism and Down Syndrome patients are generally placed in this category. A limited conservator’s duty is to help the limited conservatee develop self-reliance and independence.


A limited conservator may perform many services on the conservatee’s behalf including fixing the residence or dwelling, accessing records, consenting to or withholding consent to marriage, entering into contracts, providing medical consent, and making educational decisions.



LPS (Mental Health- Lanterman Petris) Conservatorship


A Lanterman Petris Conservatorship (LPS) is a mental health conservatorships and is generally handled in the mental health court. Such a conservatorship includes issues of serious mental diseases, and drug and alcoholism addiction.


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