What is conservatorship?

Conservatorship is a court process by which a person is appointed as a conservator to manage the personal care (person) or financial matters (estate), or both, of an individual (conservatee) that cannot handle his/her own affairs due to limitations caused by: (1) Aging, illness or other serious physical or cognitive impairments, either temporary or permanent (general probate conservatorship); or (2) Developmental disability, mental disorder or substance abuse (limited probate conservatorship).

Who may be a conservator?

Relatives, friends of the family, or other interested persons may be considered as potential conservators, in addition to some private or public agencies and organizations.

What are a conservator's responsibilities?

A conservator has fundamental responsibilities for a conservatee, including food, clothing, shelter, and medical and dental needs.  If an estate is included, the conservator must also manage the conservatee’s funds and assets and present periodic reports to the Court.  

How do I become a conservator?

A conservatorship petition and other required documents need to be filed by an interested party along with a filing fee. (link)  You can obtain the form packet from the court or go to the Judicial Council website:

Is there help available to fill out the paperwork?

Judicial Council self-help website

Will the court investigate and will I have to pay for it?

Yes, an appointed Court Investigator will conduct an investigation that may include:

  • A private interview with the proposed conservatee and spouse or other relatives;
  • An interview with the proposed conservator;
  • A review the information provided by the proposed conservator;
  • An explaination to the conservatee the nature of the proceedings 
  • Preparation of a report on the findings of the investigation and make a recommendation to the judge

The court may order you to pay a fee for the Court Investigator’s report based on the time required to conduct the investigation.

Will I be required to come to court after the conservatorship is granted?

A Court Investigator will conduct interviews and prepare a report for yearly review hearings that you will be required to attend.  There may be yearly report fees based on the time required by the investigator.  If the conservatorship is also for the estate, you will also be required to provide yearly accounts to the court.

How long does a conservatorship last?

The Court may terminate a conservatorship in a number of different ways, including the death of the conservatee, the return of the conservatee’s ability to handle his/her own affairs or removal of a conservator for specific reasons which are in a conservatee’s best interests.  In certain instances, a successor conservator may be appointed.