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May 13, 2015 by |

A Guide to Establishing a Conservatorship


A conservatorship can be established for someone who can no longer adequately take care of his or her personal care or finances. A judge can appoint a conservator, which is either a person or an organization who will take care of another person’s personal needs, finances, or both. This person is known as the conservatee.

A conservatorship can be for a person, or for their estate. In the case of a conservatorship for a person, a judge appoints a conservator for someone who cannot sufficiently provide for his or her personal needs for physical health, food, clothing or shelter. The judge can decide what powers the conservator will have.

In a conservatorship of the estate, a judge appoints someone to manage another person’s financial matters. California law permits a judge to appoint a conservator of the estate for someone who is “substantially unable to manage his or her financial resources or resist fraud or undue influence.” The conservatee does maintain some rights, including the right to make a will, but the establishment of a conservatorship of the estate means that a judge has determined that the conservatee does not have the capacity to enter into transactions related to his or her financial situation.

To establish a conservatorship, the proposed conservatee, their spouse, domestic partner, relative, or friend, or any interested state or local agency, can file a petition to ask the judge to appoint a conservator.

In choosing a conservator, the conservatee can nominate someone if he or she has sufficient capacity. The judge is required under California law to appoint this person, unless the judge determines that it would not be in the conservatee’s best interests. Otherwise, the judge has discretion to appoint a conservator, being guided by the best interests of the proposed conservatee. They must start with the conservatee’s spouse or domestic partner, followed by an adult child or their nominee, followed by a parent or their nominee, followed by a sibling or their nominee, and finally, any other eligible person (or entity).

A conservatorship ends either with a court order, or the death of the conservatee. In the case of the conservator’s death, the judge can appoint a new conservator.

Evans Law Firm, Inc. handles conservatorships, as well as all types of elder abuse cases. If you need assistance in establishing a conservatorship, please contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. at 415-441-8669 or via email at

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