A conservatorship is a court proceeding to provide protective oversight for a person determined to be unable care for themselves, their affairs or their estate. A conservator is a person assigned to manage the financial and/or personal care needs of an individual who is mentally unable to properly provide for these needs alone.
A conservatorship may be initiated for an individual who is substantially unable to manage financial resources or resist fraud because of undue influence. The law states that “substantially unable” may not be based solely on isolated incidents of negligence. There must be a clear indication that limiting disabilities will continue in order to substantiate the need for a conservatorship. A non-conventional lifestyle or the fact that someone is a nuisance to neighbors and the community does not, by themselves, justify the need for a conservatorship.
In California, there are three types of conservatorships:
- Probate Conservatorship
- Limited Conservatorship
- L.P.S. (Lanterman-Petris-Short) Conservatorship
Once appointed, the conservator can determine where the conservatee lives, be it at home or in an institution. The conservator is obligated to select the least restrictive appropriate residence that is available to meet the needs of the conservatee and is in the conservatee’s best interests. A court hearing is necessary to obtain permission to relocate a conservatee’s residence outside of California.