A Conservatorship is a legal process that designates a person, called a Conservator, to exercise powers and responsibilities over a person and/or estate of an adult who has been deemed by a Court as incapacitated, called the Conservatee.

In California probate court, there are two types of Conservators. A conservator of the Person provides legal rights over a person’s body, and allows a conservator to make all decisions regarding the incapacitated person’s body, including but not limited to, where the person will reside, medical treatment, and which doctor will treat the incapacitated person. A Conservator of the estate has the right to manage the assets and money belonging to an incapacitated person.   (However, if there is a special needs trust, the trustee of that trust will manage all the assets in the trust, with the adult incapacitated person as the beneficiary.)

The need for a conservatorship frequently arises when a minor child or adult child has developmental disabilities, situations involving elder abuse, and situations involving an adult of any age, suffering a catastrophic illness or accident which leads to physical/mental incapacity.

Legally, a person is an adult once he or she is eighteen years old or older. For example, once your child with autism turns eighteen, you will lose all parental rights over your child, even though due to his or her autism, the ‘new adult’ may be just as incapable of making decisions for him or herself as when he or she was a child. Accordingly, with the help of an Attorney, parents or family members can petition the Probate Court to deem the now adult child incapacitated, and petition to be named as the adult’s Conservator(s), and thereby gain legal rights over the incapacitated adult.

If a Conservator has plenary (complete) powers, the Conservator has legal rights over both the person and the estate.  In each case, the Conservator is required to make decisions on behalf of the Conservatee in a fiduciary capacity whenever the Conservatee is unable to make decisions for him or herself. A conservator is a “fiduciary”, meaning that the conservator must take actions only in the best interest of the Conservatee and must act in good faith and with the utmost loyalty and concern for the Conservatee.


The difficulties presented by the incapacity of a loved one are significant. Due to the nature of a Conservatorship and the paperwork involved, obtaining a Conservatorship can be an overwhelming, emotionally taxing task. With the help of a Family Law Attorney, this process can be pleasant and efficient. The results of a Conservatorship can be extremely fulfilling, and provides a peace of mind for all parties involved. If someone in your family is physically or mentally incapacitated, do not hesitate to pursue a Conservatorship at Agape Law Firm, as a Conservatorship may be the best legal option for providing for the needs of the incapacitated person.

At Agape Law Firm, San Diego Family Law Attorney Sarah Redparth will represent you. If you need an experienced, compassionate, yet aggressive Family Law Attorney to help you with your Conservatorship needs, Contact us today or call us today at (619)546-6556.