Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) – LPS Conservatorships

How Is It Started?  Only designated mental health treatment facilities, agencies or the courts can make a referral to the Public Guardian for LPS.  Only the Public Guardian can petition the court for the initial appointment as conservator.

How Long Does It Take?  LPS matters are set for hearing and decided usually in less than 30 days.

Who Is Appointed Conservator?  The Public Guardian, a relative or interested party may be appointed.  However, Public Guardian investigates all such referrals and submits recommendations to the court.

Duration of a LPS Conservatorship?  LPS automatically terminates after one year but may be renewed annually at a court hearing.

Who are the Persons/Ages Served?  Persons of all ages, including children and older adults, may qualify for LPS if they meet the legal criteria.

What is the Legal Criteria for a LPS Conservatorship:  Persons must meet the legal criteria of “grave disability,”  be a resident of LA County, have a primary mental health diagnosis and be assessed by a designated facility as needing a conservatorship. The Office of the Public Guardian makes the determination if a referral meets the legal criteria for a petition and the court makes the ultimate decision if a conservatorship is established.

What is a Temporary Conservatorship:  Frequently known as a T-Con, only the Office of the Public Guardian can serve as the temporary conservator for a LPS conservatorship.  During the temporary conservatorship the Office of the Public Guardian has authority over the person and is responsible for investigating the need for a permanent conservatorship, investigating all alternatives to conservatorship and if a conservatorship is needed, recommending who should be appointed.

What is a Permanent Conservatorship: A permanent LPS conservatorship lasts for a year, or until a treating doctor or the court determines that the conservatee no longer meets the legal criteria for conservatorship.  A petition for renewal of conservatorship at the end of one year can be done if the conservatee meets the legal criteria for conservatorship and no viable alternatives exist.

What Medical Treatment Can Be Authorized:  The court usually authorizes mental health treatment only, including psychotropic drugs, even when against the will of the individual.

What Living Arrangements/Placements Can be Arranged:  The
conservator usually is authorized to place the conservatee anywhere in California, including locked mental health facilities, if consistent with the treatment plan.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) – Probate Conservatorship

How Is It Started?  Any interested party can make a probate referral to the Public Guardian.  Likewise, any interested party can petition the court to become the conservator. Before doing so, however, family members should consult with an attorney.  Public Guardian receives referrals from Adult Protective Services (APS), convalescent hospitals, acute care hospitals, law enforcement and private citizens, just to name a few.

How Long Does It Take?  Probate matters can take several months or longer to decide.

Who Is Appointed Conservator?  The Public Guardian is usually appointed on petitions it files.  Probate conservatorship petitions may be filed by private individuals or by agencies on their own behalf.

Duration:  Probate is indefinite but conservatee or conservator may petition the court for termination at any time.

Persons/Ages Served:  Probate conservatorship is restricted to adults, age 18 and older who meet the legal basis described above.  (Guardianship is available for minors.)  Generally, Probate conservatorships involve frail elderly or dependent adults.

What Is The Legal Criteria For A Probate Conservatorship:   Established for a person who is unable to meet their needs for physical health, food, clothing or shelter or for persons “substantially unable  to manage their financial resources “or resist fraud or undue influence.  The person must also be a LA county resident.

What Medical Treatment Can Be Authorized:  The court often grants to the conservator the exclusive authority to make most medical decisions, such as surgeries, but not involuntary mental health treatment decisions.

What Living Arrangements/Placement Can Be Arranged:  The conservator is usually authorized to place the conservatee anywhere in California consistent with treatment needs, except in a mental health treatment facility.