Civic Center, Hall of Justice, Room 113
8:30am - 3:30pm
General or Limited Conservatorships
A conservatorship is a court proceeding to appoint a qualified person to manage financial affairs and/or
the personal care of an individual who is either physically or mentally unable to handle his or her own
affairs. A person or organization the judicial officer appoints to do this is known as the "conservator."
A conservator can be a family member, friend or professional person. The person who cannot care for him
or herself is called the "conservatee."
A conservatorship of the person ends when the conservatee dies or the conservatee regains the ability to
handle his or her own personal affairs. A conservatorship of the estate ends when the Court terminates
For more information, please review the
Handbook for Conservators.
There are two types of conservatorships:
- A Limited Probate Conservatorship applies when the conservatee is developmentally disabled.
In this type of conservatorship, the powers of the conservator are limited so that the disabled
person may live as independently as possible.
- A General Probate Conservatorship is for all other adults who are unable to provide for their
personal needs due to physical injury, advanced age, dementia, or other conditions rendering them
incapable of caring for themselves or making them subject to undue influence.
Once a Petition for Conservatorship has been filed, the Court will set the matter for hearing. Court
investigators are assigned to interview all persons who are the subject of a petition for conservatorship
before the first hearing is held. The court investigator may interview numerous family members, neighbors
and others to provide as much information as possible to the Court to assist in making a determination as
to whether to grant the conservatorship. When interviewing the proposed conservatee, the purpose of the
interview is to determine whether the person understands the proceedings or has any objections to them.
After a conservatorship appointment has been made, court investigators regularly interview both the conservator
and the conservatee and report to the Court about the well-being of the conservatee and whether the conservatee's
estate is being properly managed. Investigators review the accountings submitted at regular intervals by the
conservator to ensure that the accountings appear reasonable and accurate.
When the Court appoints an individual as conservator of a person, the conservator shall:
- Arrange for the conservatee's care and protection;
- Decide where the conservatee will live; and
- Take charge of health care, food, clothes, personal care, housekeeping, transportation, and recreation
for the conservatee.
When the Court appoints an individual as conservator of an estate, the conservator shall:
- Manage the conservatee's finances;
- Protect the conservatee's income and property;
- Make a list of everything in the estate;
- Make a plan to make sure the conservatee's needs are met;
- Make sure the conservatee's bills are paid;
- Invest the conservatee's money;
- Make sure the conservatee gets all the benefits for which he or she is eligible;
- Make sure the conservatee's taxes are filed and paid on time;
- Keep accurate financial records; and
- Make regular reports of the financial accounts to the Court and other interested persons, as required by law.
Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS) Conservatorships
LPS conservatorships are established under the Welfare and Institutions code to provide help for persons who
are gravely disabled as a result of their mental disability. These conservatees may be a danger to themselves
or others. The conservator is responsible for helping to find a placement and mental health treatment for the
conservatee who is gravely disabled.
An LPS conservatorship is used only when the person needs mental health treatment but cannot or will not accept
it voluntarily. Because the person subject to an LPS conservatorship may be placed in a locked facility, there
are special protections to ensure that the conservatee's civil rights are protected. By law, these cases are
treated as confidential.
On occasion, a temporary conservatorship may be appropriate if there is an emergency that requires an immediate
appointment, prior to the conservatorship hearing date. A petition for temporary conservatorship can be filed
at the same time as the petition for limited or general conservatorship. It may not be filed separately from a
conservatorship. A Petition for Appointment of a Temporary Conservator should have all information supporting
the need for emergency orders, including copies of all relevant medical, police, or Adult Protective Services
reports. Please contact the Court Investigators at (415) 444-7090 to set a hearing to be appointed as temporary
The instructions and forms required to open a conservatorship case can be accessed by
Further assistance is available from the
California Courts Online Self-Help Center.
The Probate Court has jurisdiction over the following types of matters:
- Decedent's Estate and Trusts
- Conservatorships [including Limited Conservatorships (developmentally disabled persons) and
Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS) Conservatorships)]
- Other Probate Case Types (including Commitments of Developmentally Challenged Persons; Establishment
of Fact of Birth, Death or Marriage; Minor's Compromise; and Riese Hearings)