Frequently Asked Questions About Conservatorships And Guardianships

What is the difference between a conservatorship and an adult guardianship?

A conservator's duties are focused on financial matters, while an adult guardian makes decisions regarding health and lifestyle, such as where to live and which medical professionals to consult.

Are there different types of conservatorships?

There are two basic types of conservatorship in California — a general conservatorship and a limited conservatorship. A general conservatorship is usually sought for an individual who has severe loss of physical or mental capacity due to age, illness or an injury accident. A limited conservatorship provides the conservator specified powers regarding financial decisions, while allowing the conservatee to retain the maximum amount of decision-making authority. It is usually sought for a person who is developmentally disabled.

What is a Lanterman Petris Short (LPS) conservatorship?

An LPS conservatorship provides a conservator decision-making authority for an adult who has a mental illness that is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This includes people who have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, clinical depression or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The court can give an LPS conservator authority to make decisions regarding mental health treatment, medication and placement in a mental health facility, in addition to authority to make financial decisions on behalf of the conservatee.

How long does a guardianship or conservatorship last?

Unless otherwise specified when it is created, a guardianship or conservatorship will last as long as the ward or conservatee is alive.

What powers are granted under a conservatorship?

It depends on what type of conservatorship is created. In many instances, a conservator will manage the conservatee's finances, including collecting a conservatee's income and paying the conservatee's bills. A conservator is responsible for investing the conservatee's money or otherwise protecting the conservatee's assets. A conservator must regularly provide the court with a full accounting of the conservatee's expenditures, investments and other aspects of how finances were handled.

Who pays the expenses for a ward or conservator?

There are initial court fees and other expenses associated with creating a conservatorship or guardianship. Subsequent expenses may include fees for creating accounting reports, costs associated with court hearings, attorney's fees and other costs. If the estate of the ward or conservator has ample funds to cover these costs, they can be paid from the estate. If there are not sufficient funds in the estate, federal and state funds are available to pay most of these expenses.

Learn More During A Free Consultation

Many aspects regarding a conservatorship or guardianship are specific to the unique facts of each situation. I welcome the opportunity to meet and answer any questions you have. At the Law Office of Suzanne P. Nicholl, PC, in San Diego, you are assured of working with me from start to finish.

Since issues may arise with guardianships and conservatorships years after they are established, the continuity of working with the same lawyer over the life of the conservatorship cannot be overstated. Call 619-894-8552 or use my online contact form to schedule a meeting.