What is a conservatorship? A conservatorship is a special legal arrangement. When a person has the court-appointed fiduciary responsibility for the care of another adult, they are a conservator. The person who is being provided for is the conservatee. A conservatorship proceeding is a court proceeding in which a judge appoints one adult to care for another person who can’t care for himself or herself or can’t care for his or her own finances.

The conservatorship allows for the legally responsible adult to manage the personal care or finances of an impaired adult. In California, and in most places, this legal arrangement can only be established through a court proceeding. You can’t just name someone your conservator, nor can you name someone your conservatee.

Also, it’s not quite the same as guardianship. Because in a guardianship situation, the guardian is appointed by the court to have control over the person as a ward.

California Conservatorships

In California, there are actually two kinds of conservatorships.

Limited Conservatorship

A limited conservatorship is generally applicable if a person is deemed “mentally impaired.” The conservator only steps in in areas in which the person can’t manage independently. This type lets the conservatee maintain as much independence as possible.

General Conservatorship

A general conservatorship is established when the conservatee is unable to fully provide personal care for themselves or make their own financial decisions.

To learn more about California Conservatorships and the responsibilities of a conservator, check out the state’s handbook here.

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