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Definition of a Conservatorship

A conservatorship is a court proceeding in which a judge appoints a family member, friend or other responsible person (conservator) to care for another adult (conservatee) who cannot care for themselves and/or their finances.

Who qualifies for conservatorship in California?

The Public Guardian is usually appointed on petitions it files. 


Probate conservatorship petitions may be filed by private individuals or by agencies on their own behalf.

Duties of a Conservator


  • Creating an inventory of the conservatee’s assets to submit to the court

  • Filing periodic accountings of the conservatee’s assets with the court

  • Ensuring the conservatee’s valuable assets are properly insured

  • Paying the conservatee’s bills 

  • Paying the conservatee’s taxes 

  • Collecting the conservatee’s income 

  • Preserving and managing the conservatee’s assets (e.g., by placing them in interest-bearing bank accounts)

  • Keeping thorough records of every financial transaction they make on behalf of the conservatee 


  • Arranging for the conservatee’s care and protection (e.g., hiring a qualified live-in nurse if the conservatee’s medical condition calls for it)

  • Deciding where the conservatee will live (e.g., requesting permission from the court to place the conservatee in an assisted living facility if they require medical supervision around the clock)

  • Arranging the conservatee’s meals

  • Arranging the conservatee’s health care (e.g., making their medical appointments, seeking the court’s permission to consent on behalf of the conservatee when the conservatee needs a major medical procedure)

  • Arranging for the conservatee’s clothing

  • Arranging for the conservatee’s housekeeping 

  • Arranging for the conservatee’s transportation

  • Arranging for the conservatee’s shelter

  • Organizing recreational activities for the conservatee

  • Ensuring the conservatee’s wellbeing 

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