When an adult is unable to manage his or her affairs due to mental or physical incapacity, the court can appoint another person to take protective responsibility and manage his or her financial and/or medical affairs. The person appointed by the court to take the protective action is called the "conservator." The proceeding is called a "court ordered conservatorship" or a "probate conservatorship." The person who is protected by the conservatorship is referred to as the "conservatee." The conservator is frequently a parent, sibling or close friend of the person needing the assistance. If no family member or friend is available, there are also professional conservators that may be hired to handle the conservatorship. When the person needing assistance lacks financial resources to pay a professional conservator, the county Public Guardian may be appointed by the court to serve as conservator.
The conservatorship can be established for the protection of the conservatee's business and financial matters. This is called a "conservatorship of the estate." The conservatorship can be established to manage the medical and personal (residence, caregivers, special programs and education) matters, which is called "conservatorship of the person." A conservatorship can also be established for the person and estate. Our attorneys are experienced in obtaining court orders creating a conservatorship, advising conservators concerning their ongoing responsibilities and legal rights, and terminating conservatorships. Our attorneys also represent individuals seeking to challenge a conservatorship action, as well as those who are under a conservatorship.
A guardianship proceeding in California is similar to a conservatorship. The primary difference is a guardianship is created for the protection and assistance of a minor, while a conservatorship is for the benefit of an adult. A guardianship is usually necessary when a child does not have parents who are able to make healthcare or financial decisions for him or her. Also, when a child has financial resources of his or her own which require management, a parent or other family member or friend can be appointed by the court as guardian of the estate of the minor to manage those financial resources. Our attorneys are experienced in obtaining court orders establishing guardianships, assisting guardians in their duties, and properly accounting to the court.