When an adult is unable to take care of him or herself, the court can appoint another person or organization to care for them. The conservatee, the person who cannot manage his or her health or finances, is then taken care of by the conservator. Depending on the needs of the conservatee, there are different types of conservatorships that a California court can create.

California Probate Code creates the most common types of conservatorships-general and limited probate conservatorships. A general conservatorship is for adults who cannot take care of themselves or their finances. While most of the conservatees in this category are elderly people, they can also be young people who have been seriously impaired.

Conservatees in a limited conservatorship are adults who have developmental disabilities and cannot take care of themselves, but the level of care is not as high as that in a general one. When a conservator is required immediately, courts can appoint temporary conservators until a general one can be appointed and the temporary conservator is basically responsible for the temporary care, support and protection of the conservatee.

In addition to arranging for the conservatee’s care and protection, the conservator is also responsible for making arrangements for the individual’s meals, healthcare, housekeeping, transportation, shelter, recreation and well-being. A conservator’s duties also include deciding where the conservatee will live and for getting approval from the court for certain decisions.

It is also important to report back to the court from time to time. The responsibilities of a conservator of an estate differ from this, as he or she would be responsible for managing the conservatee’s finances, protecting their assets, making a budget to show what can be afforded and to responsibly invest the conservatee’s money.

Being appointed a conservator of an estate or a person is big responsibility and negligence by a trustee, executor or conservator can have serious consequences. Conservators should consider consulting an experienced attorney to understand their duties to ensure they fulfill them.