When a conservatorship is needed right away, the court may appoint a temporary conservator until a general conservator can be appointed. The request must be filed as part of a general conservatorship case, and can be filed either at the same time or soon after the general conservatorship case is opened with the court. The main duties of a temporary conservator are arranging for the temporary care, protection, and support of the conservatee, and protecting the conservatee’s finances and property.

2. Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Conservatorships

LPS conservatorships are used to care for adults with serious mental health illnesses who need special care. These conservatorships are used for people who usually need very restrictive living arrangements (like living in locked facilities) and require extensive mental health treatment (like very powerful drugs to control behavior). Conservatees in LPS conservatorships cannot or will not agree to the special living arrangements or treatment on their own. LPS conservatorships must be started by a local government agency. If you believe that this is the type of help the adult needs, contact your local county Public Guardian or Public Conservator. The information on this Online Self-Help Center does not apply to LPS conservatorships.

In California, people with developmental disabilities have a right to services they need to live independent, productive, normal lives. The state must provide services for each person with a developmental disability at each stage of his or her life, regardless of age or the degree of the disability. These state services are provided through the regional centers, which are nonprofit corporations that have contracts with the California Department of Developmental Services to serve people with developmental disabilities.


The services provided through Regional Centers are available to persons with developmental disabilities whether they are under a general conservatorship, a limited conservatorship, or no conservatorship at all.

Find a directory of regional centers in California.

Get more information on regional centers and the California Department of Developmental Services.


Duty to help develop the limited conservatee’s self-reliance

Overall, a limited conservator’s responsibility is to help the limited conservatee develop maximum self-reliance and independence. A limited conservator must get treatment, services, and opportunities to help the limited conservatee become as independent as possible. This can be:

  • Training or education,

  • Medical and psychological services,

  • Social opportunities,

  • Vocational opportunities, and

  • Other appropriate help.


A conservatorship is a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization (called the “conservator”) to care for another adult (called the “conservatee”) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances.

To learn more about conservatorships, watch With Heart: Understanding Conservatorship. Some of the court forms shown IN the video are outdated, but the information the video provides is current and relevant and may help you understand the process better.

If you want to understand what a conservator's duties and responsibilities will be, read the Judicial Council's Handbook for Conservators

The law says all conservators must have a copy of this handbook.


Duties of a Conservator

The duties of a conservator of the person are to:

  • Arrange for the conservatee’s care and protection.

  • Decide where the conservatee will live.

  • Make arrangements for the conservatee’s:

    • Meals,

    • Health care,

    • Clothing,

    • Personal care,

    • Housekeeping,

    • Transportation,

    • Shelter,

    • Recreation, and

    • Well-being.

  • Get approval from the court for certain decisions about the conservatee’s health care or living arrangements.

  • Report to the court on the conservatee’s current status.

The duties of a conservator of the estate are to:

  • Manage the conservatee’s finances.

  • Locate and take control of all assets.

  • Collect the conservatee’s income.

  • Make a budget to show what the conservatee can afford.

  • Pay the conservatee’s bills.

  • Responsibly invest the conservatee’s money.

  • Protect the conservatee’s assets.

  • Account to the court and to the conservatee for the management of the conservatee’s assets.