Probate Conservatorships in California

 

Hi. So today I’m going to give a brief overview of what a conservatorship is here in California. Conservatorships became a particularly hot button item in the news in 2021 because of Britney Spears and her efforts to terminate her own conservatorship. But what a conservatorship is still generally misunderstood.

Well in California, there are two types of conservatorships provided for under the Probate Code. One is a conservatorship of the person, the other is a conservatorship of the estate. So what’s the difference between the two? Well, a conservatorship of the person relates to the conservatee’s healthcare, wellbeing. The conservator of the person is responsible for ensuring that the conservatee has fresh clothing, a roof over their head, food, and medical care. Frequently, individuals that require a conservator of the person are unable to provide informed consent to medical procedures. And those types of decisions then become decisions for the conservator of the person.

Conversely, the second type of conservatorship is the conservatorship of the estate. Conservators of an individual’s estate are responsible for financial decisions. They will take care of the conserved person’s bank accounts. They will make their investment decisions. They will pay their bills. If the conserved person owns a business, the conservator of the estate will invariably take control of that business and operate that business. So those are the distinctions between the two types of conservatorships in California.

One of the questions I frequently receive are, well does it have to be the same person? And the answer to that is no. Invariably, when we petition the Court to appoint conservators, we will seek to appoint one individual as the conservator of the person and another individual as the conservator of the estate.

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