There are many reasons why someone may be unable to care for themselves. The government knows this, which is why the constitution of most sovereign states or nations makes provisions for people in this category. In the US, when someone is unable to take care of themselves (be it minor or adult), there are many different types of arrangements. One of these, in some states, is a permanent managing conservatorship. But what is a permanent managing conservatorship, exactly? And do they even exist in California?

If you have a loved one who may need a conservatorship, or if you’re just curious about the topic of permanent managing conservatorships, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will answer the question, “What is a permanent managing conservatorship?” and give insight into the concept of conservatorships as a whole. We’ll also explore some other similar options that may fit your loved one’s needs.

What Is a Conservatorship?

Let’s start with this basic question: what exactly is a conservatorship in the first place? Put simply, a conservatorship is the US legal process for overseeing the affairs of another person who is not in the best position to take care of and make decisions for themselves. This may be due to:

  • Old age – caring for an elderly individual
  • Sickness
  • Grave disability (mental or physical) – caring for a disabled individual
  • Incapacitated health status

A conservatorship may be established for a short while or long term depending on the level of dependence.

No matter where you are, a conservatorship has to do with caring for and managing a person’s affairs. While this definition is straightforward as possible, the definition of a conservatorship can vary depending on which state you live in. The confusing part is determining if the conservatee is a minor or adult depending on your state.

For adult care and in some states, including California, this definition is called conservatorship. However, in other states like Texas, it is called guardianship. Meanwhile, for child care, California law recognizes this as guardianship while Texas law recognizes it as conservatorship. The bottom line? Wherever you are, make sure your definitions align with those of your state.

Conservators and Conservatees in California

In California, a conservator is a competent adult individual or group of individuals appointed by the court to manage and oversee the affairs of another adult who, due to old age or disabilities (mental or physical), cannot manage their affairs on their own. On the flip side, a conservatee is a person who needs their affairs managed. In the case of a minor, these terms don’t apply in California.

As a conservator, you may need to help establish health insurance coverage, set up a will, and care for other basic needs. You can do this as a sole managing conservator or a joint managing conservator.

What’s a Permanent Managing Conservatorship?

The term “permanent managing conservatorship” is not generally applied California legal system. Why? In the Golden State, this arrangement is much more recognized as guardianship. The term “permanent managing conservatorship” is much more prominent in states like Texas, where it is used in child custody cases that deal with parental rights, family, divorce, and other such matters.

So, on a general level, what is a permanent managing conservatorship? This legal term refers to the legal process in which the court appoints an individual (family member or foster parent) or entity like child protective services (CPS) to act in loco parentis for a child without having to adopt such a child. In California, this kind of arrangement is generally referred to as permanent guardianship.

If you came to the article trying to find a permanent conservatorship for a child, you likely need guardianship. This is not an article about child custody dispute issues, but we can go into some details about the way guardianship can help a child in CPS care or in another dire situation.

Guardianships in California

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When the court appoints a person or entity as the permanent guardian of a child, the guardian is granted many parental rights. The guardian needs to make decisions regarding care and upbringing over the child just as the birth parents of the child would. The legal rights that permanent guardianship grants include the following.

  • Legal decision-making rights on behalf of the child in their care
  • Right to decide on suitable education for the child
  • Right to decide on child’s religion and upbringing
  • Custody rights and right to make custody decisions
  • Ability to acquire identification and passports for children
  • Right to decide on suitable accommodation for the child, including daycare
  • Right to consent to health care procedures and medical treatment on behalf of the child

In return, the independent guardian is expected to shoulder additional duties and provide the child with clothing and other necessities. The guardian may receive child support payments from the state in some circumstances for their duty of care.

Children sometimes find a guardian after being in foster care. Another option in such cases is finding an adoptive family, which can lead to post-adoption benefits. An adoptive child isn’t always an option, though, which is why guardianship can also provide a child with the family.

Types of Conservatorship in California

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Basically, there are two types of conservatorships in California: probate conservatorships and Lanterman-Petris-short (LPS) conservatorships. These two types of conservatorships are applied based on the circumstances and the needs of the conservatee. Let’s delve into each one individually.

Probate Conservatorships

A probate conservatorship is arguably the most common type of conservatorship in California. The provisions of probate conservatorship are rooted in the laws of the California probate code. If you’re not sure what probate is, we’ve got you covered!

A probate conservatorship can be general or limited. A general conservatorship has to do with the care of or management of the affairs of elderly people who cannot care for themselves. It can also be used for young adults with serious impairments. If you came to this article wondering, “What is a permanent managing conservatorship? Can I use one to care for my incapacitated loved one?” and you live in California, this may be what you’re looking for.

A limited conservatorship, as the name implies, does not require full, drawn-out care. It has to do with helping adults with developmental or short-term disabilities manage their finances and other aspects of their lives. Such temporary managing can be dissolved when the person is once again able to care for themselves.

Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Conservatorships

LPS is used to take care of adults with special needs, like adults with severe mental disabilities who are in need of intensive treatment. The conservatees in this type of conservatorship are not in the position to consent to this arrangement due to their special circumstances. Therefore, an LPS conservatorship must be started by the local government agency as recommended by the county public conservator.


If an adult needs to have a conservator as early as possible and the approval process for general conservatorship is taking time, the court can appoint an individual as a temporary managing conservator to temporarily take care of the adult and protect their estate and finances until a general or limited conservator is appointed. That person can then make reasonable efforts to arrange everything from an adult day-care program to legal services, public benefits, health care coverage, and anything else the conservatee may need.

Conservatorship Termination

Keep in mind that any kind of conservatorship, even an ostensibly permanent one, can be terminated. There is ground for termination, even involuntary termination if a permanent managing conservator acts improperly. The conservatee or another party can file a petition for termination even if there is a desire against termination from the conservatory.

In extreme cases, this can even result in criminal charges against the conservator for endangering the physical health or complete rights of the conservator. Evidence relevant to the case, such as evidence of family violence, can be used in such cases. If this happens to you as a conservator, it’s time to make active efforts to protect yourself by hiring a lawyer.


Make Use of the Right Documents

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No matter the legal situation, be it conservatorship, guardianship, divorce, or probate, the use of the appropriate and up-to-date documents is a very important legal requirement. Having the right legal document for your legal procedure will save you a lot of time, energy, and money.

You can save thousands of dollars in attorney costs by obtaining your comprehensive legal documents from us! At A People’s Choice, we have an experienced team of experts who make a diligent effort to make your legal processes as seamless and stress-free as possible. We’re set up to provide you with all the legal documents you need at a cost that won’t break the bank. Reach out to us today to get started with your conservatorship or guardianship!