Conservatorship in California

Conservatorship is a significant legal process in California. It creates a legal relationship and set of duties that one person must exercise in order to provide for the care of another. Unlike a guardianship, which involves the care of a minor, conservatorships exist for the benefit of adults who cannot take care of themselves.

No part of this post should be read as legal advice, and readers with questions about conservatorship should direct them to knowledgeable and trusted attorneys. An estate planning or elder law attorney may be able to help begin the process of setting up a conservatorship.

What are probate conservatorships?

Probate conservatorships exist to provide adults with care and financial help. They can be any adult who needs this form of support, but often are older individuals and those who suffer from mental or developmental disabilities. There are two types of probate conservatorships in California: general and limited. General probate conservatorships allow for broad conservatorship support, while limited probate conservatorships allow for more restricted support.

What are the duties of a conservator?

A conservator is the person named to provide care and support to another. When conservator duties are applied to the support of a person, they can include finding the person a place to live, making sure they have food and clothing, supporting their medical care and needs, and other duties. Conservators who have authority to manage the estates of others can control their charge’s assets, finances, bill paying, income, and other financial duties.

Setting up and executing a conservatorship can feel challenging for Californians who are new to the process. However, it does not have to be difficult. Legal support can help both conservators and their conservatees find balance and peace in their new legal relationships.