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Public Guardian

The office of the Public Guardian is responsible for conducting the County investigation into conservatorship matters.  If appointed, the Public Guardian or designee acts as conservator for those found by the Superior Court to be unable to properly care for themselves or their finances.

Responsibilities of the Public Guardian

The Superior Court may appoint the Public Guardian as conservator of the person, conservator of the estate, or both conservator of person and estate.  The following is a brief overview of the responsibilities of each:

  • Conservator of the Person - Arranges for the conservatee's placement, protection, and care.  Also, coordinates and oversees the delivery of needed services.
  • Conservator of the Estate - Manages the conservatee's finances, locates and controls the conservatee's property, collects income, pays bills, invests the conservatee's money, and protects estate assets.

Types of Conservatorships

California law provides for two basic types of conservatorship depending upon the conservatee's particular needs.  The following is a brief description of each:

  • Probate Conservatorship:  When a person is unable to provide for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter or unable to manage their estate due to cognitive impairment, a capacity declaration written by a medical doctor is submitted to the Public Guardian's office.  Through the investigation process, the necessity for conservatorship will be determined.
    • Referrals for Probate Conservatorship come from hospitals or skilled nursing facilities.  If the person lives independently, the referrals come from Adult Protective Services.
  • Lanterman-Petris-Short (L.P.S.) Conservatorship:  When a doctor has determined that a person is gravely disabled (unable to provide food, clothing, and/or shelter) due to a mental disorder, a referral for LPS Conservatorship is submitted to the Public Guardian's office.  Through the investigation process, a Public Guardian investigator will determine the necessity of a conservatorship.  If a conservatorship is deemed appropriate, a court hearing is scheduled.  Depending on the outcome of the hearing, a person may be placed under conservatorship of the person and/or the estate.
    • Referrals for LPS Conservatorships must come from a doctor at a 5150 facility. 

To reach someone regarding Public Guardian questions, you may call 530-886-2900 during regular business hours.

For all urgent matters regarding individuals on conservatorship, call intake 24/7 at 916-787-8860.