A guardian or conservator is a person or organization that is appointed by the court to arrange for the personal care or finances, or both for someone who has been found by the court to be unable to do so (the conservatee).
What are the duties of a Guardian?
The court can appoint a conservator of the person only, the estate only, or both person and estate. It is the policy of the Public Guardian to serve as conservator of both the person and estate. The following is a brief summary of a conservator's duties.
Conservatorship of the person: the conservator arranges for the conservatee's care and protection, decides where the conservatee will live, makes arrangements for the conservatee's health care, meals, clothing, personal care, housekeeping, transportation, and recreation.
Conservatorship of the estate: the conservator manages the conservatee's finances. locates and takes control of the conservatee's assets, collects income due to the conservatee, makes a budget to show what the conservatee can afford, pays the conservatee's bills, invests the conservatee's money, and protects the conservatee's assets.
Are there different types of conservatorships?
There are several types of conservatorships. For each type a conservator can be appointed for the person, for the estate, or both. It is the policy of the Public Guardian to serve as conservator of both the person and estate.
Probate Conservatorships: These conservatorships are named for the laws found in the California Probate Code. Full Probate conservatorships are set up for adults who cannot handle their own finances or care for themselves; limited conservatorships are possible for adults with developmental disabilities who cannot fully care for themselves or their property.
Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Conservatorships: These conservatorships can be established to arrange placement and mental health treatment for persons who are gravely disabled, a legal criteria by which a person is unable to provide for their own food, clothing and shelter as a result of a mental disorder. LPS conservatorships must be renewed on an annual basis.
LPS Temporary Conservatorships (T-CON): Established by a designated mental health professional submitting a "Declaration in Support of Appointment of a Temporary Conservator." Temporary conservatorships are originally established for 30 days but can be extended by the court.
Who decides whether a person needs a conservator?
The Superior Court determines whether a conservatorship should be established. The court process includes petitioning the court, notifying the proposed conservatee and his or her family of proceedings, identifying the resources of the proposed conservatee and stating the reason a conservatorship is needed. The court will establish a conservatorship only if it is determined that the person requires it and that the petitioner can fulfill the responsibilities as a conservator.
Does the Public Guardian have the same responsibilities as other conservators?
Yes. A public conservator has all the same duties and responsibilities. The public conservator must answer to the court and obtain the same court approvals for decisions made on behalf of the conservatee.