Probate Conservatorship Types
Probate ConservatorshipsThese conservatorships are based on the laws in the California Probate Code. They are the most common type of conservatorship. Probate conservatorships can be:
General Conservatorships — conservatorships of adults who cannot take care of themselves or their finances. These conservatees are often elderly people, but can also be younger people who have been seriously impaired, like in a car accident, for example.
Limited Conservatorships — conservatorships of adults with developmental disabilities who cannot fully care for themselves or their finances. Conservatees in limited conservatorships do not need the higher level of care or help that conservatees in general conservatorships need.
You can think of general conservatorship as individuals who are on the decline with no hope of regaining rights. Limited Conservatorships are individual born with disabilities but are still learning and growing from their disabilities. There is a hope that some rights maybe granted back to the disabled individual which is where the word limited (time) comes from.
Temporary Conservatorship - When a conservatorship is needed right away, the court may appoint a temporary conservator until a general conservator can be appointed. The request must be filed as part of a general conservatorship case, and can be filed either at the same time or soon after the general conservatorship case is opened with the court. The main duties of a temporary conservator are arranging for the temporary care, protection, and support of the conservatee, and protecting the conservatee’s finances and property.
Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) ConservatorshipsLPS conservatorships are used to care for adults with serious mental health illnesses who need special care. These conservatorships are used for people who usually need very restrictive living arrangements (like living in locked facilities) and require extensive mental health treatment (like very powerful drugs to control behavior). Conservatees in LPS conservatorships cannot or will not agree to the special living arrangements or treatment on their own. LPS conservatorships must be started by a local government agency. If you believe that this is the type of help the adult needs, contact your local county Public Guardian or Public Conservator.
Types of Gerneral and Limited ConservatorshipsThe probate court can appoint a conservator of the person, a conservator of the estate, or both, depending on the needs of the conservatee.
• A conservator of the person cares for and protects a person when the judge decides that the person cannot do it. The conservator is responsible for making sure that the conservatee has proper food, clothing, shelter, and health care. Depending on the conservatee’s ability to understand and make decisions, the conservator may need to make important medical choices for him or her. This website does go into limited conservatorship of the person.
• A conservator of the estate handles the conservatee’s financial matters — like paying bills and collecting a person’s income — if the judge decides the conservatee cannot do it.
Conservatorship of the EstateIn a Conservatorship of the Estate, the conservator handles the conservatee’s financial matters. These duties include managing the conservatee’s finances, protecting income and property, paying bills, making investments, preparing and filing taxes on behalf of the conservatee. The conservator is also required to make regular reports of the financial account to the courts and other interested parties.
You do not need a conservatorship of the estate if:
The developmentally disabled adult you care for gets public assistance, like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security (SSA) but has no other assets, or
The developmentally disabled adult earns a wage.
The developmentally disabled adult earns a wage.
But you need a conservatorship of the estate if the developmentally disabled adult has other assets, such as an inheritance or a settlement from a lawsuit that is not in a special needs trust.
Inheritance can be directed to a third party special needs trust. A large settlement from a lawsuit will become assets of a disabled adult. Consult an attorney.
This website does not go into how to petition the court for conservatorship of the estate.
Being appointed conservator of the person does NOT automatically make that person the conservator of the estate. If someone wants to be conservator of both, the person and the estate, he or she must petition to be appointed as both. If someone is a conservator of the person and later decides that he or she needs to be appointed as conservator of the estate, he or she can file a new petition for conservatorship and, this time, request to be appointed as conservator of the estate.