From Joni Mitchell to Britney Spears, conservatorships spend quite a bit of time in the spotlight. However, there is more than one type of conservatorship. So, if you’re in the position of having to seek out conservatorship options, you may well wonder: What is a sole managing conservatorship in California?

There is a lot of confusion and misconception regarding this topic, and it doesn’t help that sole managing conservatorship can have different meanings in different places. This article looks to familiarize you with the concept of sole conservatorship and its attributes in California, as well as other types of conservatorship options. By the end, you’ll know a lot more about what conservatorship may be right for your loved one’s situation.

Conservatorship: What Does It Mean?

A California conservatorship is the legal process where a responsible agency or individual is appointed to care for/and manage the affairs of another individual. Usually, the other individual is an incapacitated person due to sickness, disability, or old age. While the individual or agency appointed to manage the affairs of an incapacitated adult is called a conservator, the person whose affairs, they have been appointed to manage is called the conservatee.

Conservatorship is a serious arrangement. A would-be conservator must prove and confirm that the potential conservatee needs the arrangement. This person must be unable to manage their physical health and affairs on his/her own.

Once the court determines that the person is unable to care for themselves, they may appoint a conservator. This may be a person or group in the best position to act in the conservatee’s best interests when it comes to medical treatment and financial decisions.

Types of Conservatorship

The type of conservatorship arrangement chosen for a particular conservatee is dependent on the type of care the conservatee needs. There are several main types of conservatorships available for different scenarios. We’ll discuss them below.

Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Conservatorship

Lanterman-Petris-Short conservatorship, or LPS for short, is a type of conservatorship used to take care of adults with severe mental disabilities. These conservatees have medical records that show they are in unavoidable and undebatable need of special care.

Adults with this type of mental disability generally need to receive physical and mental health treatment in a restrictive environment. This ensures they get the extensive mental health care and psychological treatment they need. The LPS type of conservatorship takes care of such situations.

There is one particular part of this type of conservatorship: is the conservatees do not often have the mental capacity to be consulted before this type of conservatorship is approved. This type of conservatorship can only be started by their local government agency and does not require the consent of the conservatee.

Probate Conservatorship

There are actually two main types of probate conservatorship: general conservatorship and limited conservatorship. These types of conservatorship draw their attributes from the probate laws of the state. Here’s an overview of each.

  1. General Conservatorship:  These are for adults who are unable to care for themselves and their finances. This may be older adults who are incapacitated due to old age or younger adults who are incapacitated due to an accident.
  2. Limited Conservatorship: This is much different from general conservatorship because the conservatees still maintain a form of control of their affairs. The limited conservatorship has to do with the conservatorship of adults who, due to some disabilities, cannot fully take care of themselves or their finances. The conservatees in this type of conservatorship do not need as much care as those in general conservatorships; all they need is partial care. They may require some minimal assistance, for example, with their finances or in their day-to-day living.

Basically, limited conservatorship doesn’t grant full powers to the conservator to take charge of the conservatee’s affairs, which is what general conservatorship does.

Types of Probate Conservators

There are two types of probate conservators. These types of conservators will be appointed by the court depending on the needs of the conservatee. The court will appoint a responsible person or agency as one or both depending on the needs of the conservatee. We give a full description of the two below.

  • Conservator of the estate: A conservator of the estate handles financial matters for the conservatee. This happens if the court decide that the conservatee is not in the best position to handle their financial affairs themselves. A conservator of the estate, once appointed, will take care of the conservatee’s financial affairs like bill payment and collection of income.
  • Conservator of the person: A conservator of the person takes the role of the caregiver of the conservatee. This may happen if the conservatee is unable to take care of themselves. These types of probate conservators must ensure the conservatee is well fed, clothed, and sheltered. In some cases, this conservator may have to make important medical choices for the conservatee depending on the conservatee’s situation.

The court has the exclusive right to appoint the conservator and the role they play. However, anyone fit for the job (if they are willing) can be appointed the conservator. In fact, one person can be appointed as both conservators of person and conservator of the estate. A person previously appointed as conservator of person can similarly file to be appointed as conservator of the estate and vice versa. Often, this individual is a close family member.

Temporary Conservatorship

When filing for conservatorship in California, sometimes the needs of the potential conservatee require an immediate conservatorship. In cases like this, it is common for the court to appoint a temporary conservator. The temporary conservator ensures the conservatee’s care and the protection of their assets and finances during the time within which general conservatorship is being filed.

What Is a Sole Managing Conservatorship In California?

You might be wondering why we haven’t yet answered the question, “What is Sole Managing Conservatorship in California?” We’re about to get to that.

Earlier in this article, we stated that conservatorship defines different concepts in different places. Well, so does sole managing conservatorship. While this term is not so popular in California, it still merits some examination.

Do Sole Managing Conservatorships Exist in California?

In states where conservatorship has to do with child custody and care of minor children, “sole managing conservatorship” is a fairly common term. It means the conservator is the only one with standard possession of the child and the only one with exclusive rights to make certain decisions concerning the child’s welfare. In other words, there are no shared decisions.

The same can be said about sole managing conservatorship in California. However, conservatorship in California has to do with the care for adults who are unable to care for themselves and their finances by another adult or agency. It does not involve parent-child relationships or legal guardianships.

California Sole Managing Conservatorships for Adults

A sole managing conservatorship in California involves a sole managing conservator with the exclusive legal rights to make some life decisions and healthcare decisions for an adult conservatee. Judging from the above submission, when a conservator is appointed as both conservator of the estate and conservator of the person, such person or agency can be referred to as the sole managing conservator of the conservatee.

Summarily, a sole managing conservator in California refers to a person who is granted the exclusive right to manage both the conservatee’s affairs and the conservatee’s finances. The sole managing conservator can also make medical decisions on behalf of the conservatee.

Joint Managing Conservatorship

sole managing conservatorship

We all know that sometimes, two heads are better than one. This also applies to conservatorship in California. Joint conservatorship refers to a situation in which two individuals are appointed by the court to act as conservators for one conservatee. In this case, they are called joint managing conservators.

Take, for example, a case where the conservatee has two adult children. Both have filed to be their parent’s conservators. The court may decide to appoint one child as the conservator of the person and the other as conservator of the estate. This way, the court would have delegated the duties of caring for the parent in a way that ensures the best interest of the conservatee.

How Does the Court Appoint Conservators?

In California, a conservatorship can only be started following a doctor’s report and recommendation of conservatorship. At this point, you can file for a court order. If an adult has been deemed by doctors to be unable to care for themselves due to a disability or surgical treatment, the doctors’ report is important in starting conservatorship for such an adult.

You can find forms for conservatorship on the probate court’s website or in the physical court for your specific area. This court has to be located and have jurisdiction to rule in the state or county in which such an adult resides.

Once you’ve filed conservatorship forms with the probate court, officials schedule a hearing. During this hearing, they verify that the adult in question is truly unable to care for themselves and is truly in need of a conservator. Based on doctors’ reports, the court will rule on the type of conservatorship that is necessary for the adult and appoints a conservator to care for the adult.

The conservators appointed are often the adult children or relatives of the conservatee. However, in some cases where the children or relatives are not found responsible enough or are not available, the court may appoint an organization or agency to act as conservator.

Get Help with Your Documents

In any legal journey, you embark upon, adequate and up-to-date legal documents are always a requirement that can ensure the success of such a legal journey. At A People’s Choice, we are dedicated to providing our clients with comprehensive legal documents. This saves them the cost of expensive attorneys and legal counsel while ensuring accuracy and the best possible result in your case. Reach out to us today for your sole conservatorship legal documents so your loved one is cared for.