• steps to obtain conservatorship in california

Steps to Obtain Conservatorship in California

A conservatorship is a legal arrangement which allows a responsible adult to manage the personal care or financial matters of an impaired adult person.  The person who is unable to care for herself is referred to as the conservatee. The person who cares for the conservatee is called the conservator. A conservator can be a family member, friend, or business entity. California Probate Code outlines the requirements of who can serve as a conservator. A conservatorship in California must be established through a court proceeding. This article provides a general overview of the steps to obtain conservatorship in California.

There are two types of conservatorships in California: Limited Conservatorship and General Conservatorship. A limited conservatorship applies when a person is deemed to be mentally impaired. The powers of the conservator are limited to the area in which the conservatee may not be able to manage on her own. The court encourages limited conservatorships because it allows a person to maintain as much independence as possible. A general conservatorship provides a higher level of care to the conservatee. This type of conservatorship is best for a person who is unable to fully provide personal care for themselves or make financial decisions.

“I thought I could prepare conservatorship papers on my own but I was wrong. When I saw the paperwork required, I almost started to cry.” P. Horton
“An attorney quoted almost $5000 for the process! Somehow I found A People’s Choice and for a fraction of the cost, they helped me with everything. Very happy client.” P. Horton

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Key Steps to Obtain Conservatorship in California

Setting up a conservatorship can be a daunting and tedious process. One of the first steps to obtain conservatorship in California is to complete and file a Petition for Conservatorship.  The petition documents are quite cumbersome and can be extremely confusing without professional help. The documents themselves cover information about the proposed conservator, conservatee, the conservatee’s immediate relatives, and the reasons why a conservatorship is necessary. The petition must also explain why the possible alternatives to a conservatorship are not available. The petition must be filed in the local court in which the proposed conservatee resides. Contact A People’s Choice for help preparing all the required paperwork to obtain your conservatorship in California.

Once the petition is filed, the court clerk will schedule a court date. As one of the steps to obtain conservatorship, the proposed conservatee must be served notice of the petition for conservatorship. The service must be completed by a neutral party who is at least 18-years-old or older. The proposed conservatee’s relatives must also be provided notice of the filed petition. A court appointed investigator will talk to the proposed conservatee and others to get more information about the conservatee’s condition.

The proposed conservatee must attend the hearing unless they do not have the capacity to attend. During the hearing, the judge will determine if all family members were properly notified. The judge may also appoint a lawyer to represent the proposed conservatee. The judge may grant or deny the conservatorship.

If the judge grants the conservatorship, an order appointing the conservator will be filed and Letters of Conservatorship will be issued. Review the  Handbook for Conservators for more information about the conservator’s role. Once Letters are issued, the proposed conservator can assume the powers authorized per the court order.

Contact A People’s Choice for more information about the steps to obtain conservatorship in California.

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By |2018-01-18T15:46:02+00:00November 23rd, 2017|Conservatorship|7 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.


  1. Linda Kay June 28, 2018 at 12:52 am - Reply

    Hi Sandra,
    My name is Linda. My husband had brain hemorrhage on May 23,2018. He is incapacitated, unable to move and speak. He is in long term care acute. To make my story short. I apply for disability for my husband and the social security office need me to get a court conservatorship because I can not sign the medical release form. They need my husband to sign the medical release form. How long would it take to get the paperwork and how much does it coast. The social security gives me just 10 days to send the documents back to them.

    • Sandy McCarthy June 28, 2018 at 5:47 am - Reply

      Please call the office if you need help filing an emergency conservatorship. We can go over pricing and time. The paperwork is quite extensive. 800-747-2780.

  2. Kathy Davis September 19, 2018 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    My sister in law had a major stroke and can’t talk with just a few words like yes or no but not sure sure understand that much and is in a nursing home now but trying to get med I cal but there is so many issues my brother her husband is alwaysby her side but we are trying to find out as she has bills, IRS she owes , and she had annuity but no one can get in to . And don’t know how going to pay for her nursing home as med I cal hasn’t approved her yet Her and no one can get into her accounts as in her name only. She is in placerville , California. Could he get conservatorship. Thank you

    • Sandy McCarthy September 20, 2018 at 8:13 pm - Reply

      It sounds like someone needs to seek s conservatorship order.

    • Sandy McCarthy September 20, 2018 at 8:14 pm - Reply

      It sounds like someone needs to seek a conservatorship order.

  3. Letty September 20, 2018 at 2:48 am - Reply

    How long does it generally take to get conservatorship? I care for my developmentally disabled 23 year old daughter who has down syndrome. Thank you.

    • Sandy McCarthy September 20, 2018 at 8:12 pm - Reply

      Depending on whether you seek temporary and regular orders, you could be appointed within 2 weeks up to 90 days. There are many variables.

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