• 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

We Help File California Conservatorship!

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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 |2018-01-18T15:46:02-07:00November 23rd, 2017|Conservatorship|24 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. Theresa short April 29, 2019 at 9:30 am - Reply

    My aunt and uncle have no children and live in California. My mother .. her sister is her only living relative. My aunt may have demensia or altzemiers my mom was granted access from my aunts doctor to review her medical records and medications. My uncle has signs of dementia but is still able to make decisions. As a family (my mom has 8 children we are all far away in distance NY PA Virginia SC NE ) we are very close. My aunts condition came on quickly so we were unprepared.My sister flew to CA and got them into an assisted living at a wonderful home as they are financially well off. My uncle was included in all decision making as he is private and independent. We were in the process of getting them medically figured out
    We had a social worker as they needed care at their home until we could get them situated which took several months of planning they have no will or power of attorney in place. We were working on all of this And without notice we found out that emergency conservator ship was going to court in 2 days from the home assistance team that took care of them prior to them moving to assisted living. My uncle did not like her so we objected to her being conservator and my mother was never notified by the courts. We wrote formal objections to submit to her being appointed but she pushed the date forward due to what she cited as a dire emergency. She also stated to the judge that the family was telling our uncle to object which we never did. What are our options as she said she now will not let my mother view her sisters meds or talk to her doctor about her condition which my aunt and her doctor agreed upon I have documentation that was permitted.she wants to take over and has no regard for her family or her husband. We have insisted that my mother be called 3 days a week to check on her. I believe she is a predator of the elderly what are our options as she said she intends to apply for full conservatorship once the temporary emergency expires

    • Sandy McCarthy May 1, 2019 at 5:09 pm - Reply

      Unfortunately, we cannot give you “option” or discuss your rights. Only an attorney can do this. You may want to talk to a lawyer about your options.

  2. Monica April 1, 2019 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Hello, my father had a massive stroke and has been left incapacitated on his right side and cannot communicate. He is in a skilled nursing facility and his bills are mounting. Thankfully he is covered by medicare/medical, but we (his family) are unable to get into his bank account to help pay for mounting bills. I have the conservatorship paperwork. Is there a way to speed up the process? If so, what is the cost for doing so? Thank you for any help.

    • Sandy McCarthy April 10, 2019 at 5:58 pm - Reply

      There is a process to file for temporary conservatorship at the same time as you file for permanent conservatorship.

  3. Rahn March 18, 2019 at 9:44 am - Reply

    Wife diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and we do not have a POA. My wife is with me on title and have no other joint assets together.

    Need to pull money out of home to pay for the home placed her in. Met with an attorney and seems expensive (quoted $8K). is there a way to lower that cost by filing with you? Can you recommend an attorney in Ventura that can assist?

    • Sandy McCarthy March 29, 2019 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      Sounds like you need to file a conservatorship. We can certainly prepare the paperwork and save your money.

  4. Yi March 5, 2019 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    Hi Sandy,

    We have an teenage son who is moderate to severe autistic. We do not expect him can make any important decision at age of 18. At what time should we start to apply for the conservatorship? Thanks.

    • Sandy McCarthy March 8, 2019 at 6:18 am - Reply

      You should probably start looking into the process shortly before he turns 18.

  5. Azalea January 18, 2019 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    My mom is developing dementia/alzhemiers and her boyfriend is opening accounts in her name that shes unaware, we found several diff docs. What should i do?

    • Sandy McCarthy January 21, 2019 at 6:35 pm - Reply

      You may want to file for conservatorshp. We can help you with that paperwork.

  6. traian mitrache January 6, 2019 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    Our son is 20, and has been suffering from depression for many years. Medication doesn’t work, and now he refuses to even take any. He also refuses to go to therapy. All he does is sit in bed and says he doesn’t care anymore whether he gets better or not. He has suicidal ideation, and we have taken him to emergency room several times our of fear that he’ll hurt himself. Doctors recommend medication plus therapy, eventually a residential treatment center, but we can’t take him there without his approval.

    Do you think this medical condition could justify a conservatorship so that we can make the medical decisions for him and force him to follow through with them?

    • Sandy McCarthy January 7, 2019 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      I would not want to make any predictions on this issue. You may want to run it by a lawyer. Once you know you want to proceed, give us a call as we can help with the paperwork.

    • Sandy McCarthy January 9, 2019 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      It is hard to anticipate what a court would order.

  7. Arusia November 29, 2018 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    Hi Sandy,
    I am looking to get Conservatorship for my 38 years old son who is diagnosed with schizophrenia. The main problem is that he after releasing from hospital refusing to continue to take the medications and gets worse again and again since 2008. What would you advise me. Do you accept this kind of cases? Thank you

    • Sandy McCarthy December 1, 2018 at 1:40 am - Reply

      We could certainly help you file conservatorship if that is the legal path you choose to take. Give us a call at 800-747-2780.

  8. Tino Landas November 23, 2018 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    Hi Sandy, Im applying for conservatorship to get our former developmental disabled client for 19 years. My wife past away 9 years ago and I took-over the care home operation. I retired but I would like to get back this client who doesn’t have any family who’s now living in another care home. She’s like our own daughter, she’s 65 years old and very very close to us (we don’t have any children) . I hired a lawyer (Joedy DeFrank) in Sacramento the first of August, 2018, it’s now November and nothing is happening. I have yet to received a call from the court or a letter from some office. I’m getting very disappointed. Every end of the month I’d call him for any progress but he won’t tell me anything and instead he’ll let me sign some docs or ask me the same questions he asked a month ago. Everytime I visits her, my heart melts. She would like to go home with me, she’ll hold my arm so tight and won’t let go. She’s autistic and profoundly retarded. I’m getting depressed and I hope you can advise or help me. This lawyer was referred by the lawyers referral service. Thanks so much!!

    • Sandy McCarthy December 1, 2018 at 3:24 am - Reply

      If you are not happy with your lawyer, I would fire him and go with someone else that can offer you more expedited and satisfactory services.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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