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What is an LPS (Lanterman-Petris-Short Act) conservatorship?
An LPS conservatorship is a court proceeding designed for persons with serious mental disorders, or who are impaired by chronic addictions, such as drugs or alcohol. If the judge determines an individual is “gravely disabled” he or she may be involuntarily committed to a mental institution.
Unlike a probate conservatorship, an LPS conservatorship must be initiated by the county government—a spouse or other relative cannot petition for an LPS conservatorship.
What is a conservator of the estate?
A conservator of the estate is responsible for handling the financial affairs of the conservatee, with the power to collect all the conservatee’s assets, pay bills, make investments, etc. Even so, court authorization is required before the conservator can conduct major transactions, such as the purchase or sale of real property, borrowing money and gifting of assets.
What is a conservator of the person?
A conservator of the person is responsible for making decisions about personal matters for the conservatee, including decisions about medical care, food, clothing, and residence. Unless specifically authorized by the court, the conservator may not place the conservatee into a locked mental institution against his or her will.
When is a conservatorship needed?
A conservatorship may be needed when someone is not able to manage his or her own financial affairs and/or personal care, and there is no alternative method of delegating these duties to another (either through a durable power of attorney, living trust or other means).
Frequently Asked Questions About Conservatorships
What is a probate conservatorship?
A court proceeding in which a judge appoints someone (called a conservator) to manage another person’s (called the conservatee’s) financial and/or personal affairs. Once a conservator is appointed, the conservatee generally has limited power over his or her own financial and personal care decisions.
Do I need a conservatorship to place my relative in a nursing home?
It depends—if a person does not object to going into a nursing home, a relative may sign the admission agreement as an agent or as a “responsible party” to place a person in a nursing home. That person may not make medical care decisions on behalf of the individual unless he or she has authority to do so as an agent under a durable power of attorney for health care or as a court-appointed conservator. However, if a person objects or is unwilling to go to a nursing home, a conservatorship is required.
How can a conservatorship be used to plan for Medi-Cal benefits for a person who is incapacitated?
A conservator can petition the court for approval of appropriate Medi-Cal planning transactions such as purchasing a home or other real property, or transferring the family home or other assets to the conservatee’s spouse or child, where appropriate.