The appointment by the Court of someone to handle the affairs of another is an often necessary but always complex process. Since it involves the Court removing the ability of the person who is cared for (the “Conservatee”) to act in his or her own behalf it is as critical a judicial step as any that could be imagined. If the Conservatorship is granted, the Conservatee no longer has the typical rights and powers of an adult and is subject to the legal control of the Conservator, the person who was appointed to care for him or her.
In a very real way, it represents altering the legal status of an adult to that of a child, and while the fiduciary duty applies to the Conservator, such removal of rights requires the Court to undertake a thorough and complete examination of the situation to assure itself that a conservatorship is required.
In reality, most conservatorships are obviously necessary. Someone who has failed to execute a durable power of attorney ends up in a coma after an operation or accident; someone has a stroke and can no longer handle his or her assets; someone becomes mentally deranged and hallucinating, etc. etc. But even in such cases, the Court will require strict adherence to procedure and protection of the rights of the proposed Conservatee.
The documents below are the ones typically required to be filed and obtained in order to be granted either a permanent or temporary conservatorship. Clearly, competent legal counsel is necessary to assist in the preparation of the documents and the physician of the proposed Conservatee is an integral part of the proof of the need.
1. Documents Required for Permanent Conservatorship
- Petition for Probate Conservator (Form GC - 310)
- Confidential Conservator Screening Form (Form GC-314)
- Capacity Declaration (Form GC-335) to be filled out by proposed Conservatee’s physician
- Confidential Supplemental Information (Form GC-312)
- Duties of Conservator (Form GC-348)
- Citation and Proof of Service (Form GC-320)
- Notice with Proof of Service (Form GC-020, GC-020MA)
- Letters of Conservatorship (Form GC-150)
- Order Appointing Conservator (Form GC-340)
- (Some counties) Notification to Court of Address of Conservator & Conservatee
- (Some counties) Confidential Contact Information Pursuant to Probate Code section 2250
- (If necessary) Request to Dispense with Notice and Proposed Order
2. Documents Required for Temporary Conservatorship
- All documents required for the permanent conservatorship
- Petition for Appointment of a Temporary Conservator (Form GC-110)
- Additional Notice with Proof of Service (Form GC-020)
- Proof of Personal Service (GC-020P)
- Letters of Temporary Conservatorship (Form GC-150)
- Order Appointing Temporary Conservator (Form GC-140)
- (Some counties) Declaration Regarding Notice
If moving ex parte for the temporary conservatorship, one also needs:
- Ex Parte Application for Good Cause Exception to Notice of Hearing on Petition for Appointment of Temporary Conservator (Form GC-112);
- Supporting Declaration (Form GC-112(A-1)), continued if necessary on the Declaration Continuation Page (Form GC-112(A-2)); and
- Order on Ex Parte Application for Good Cause Exception to Notice of Hearing on Petition for Appointment of Temporary Conservator (Form GC-115)
3. Notice Requirements for Permanent Conservatorship
15 days before the hearing
- Proposed Conservatee: personal service of the court sealed Citation, Petition, and Notice.
- All other required relatives: mail service of Notice and Petition.
4. Notice Requirements for Temporary Conservatorship (if not ex parte)
5 days before the hearing
- Proposed Conservatee: personal service of Petition for Temporary Conservatorship and the second Notice.
- All other required relatives: mail service of Petition for Temporary Conservatorship and the second Notice.
Per Probate Code section 1204, anyone entitled to notice can waive notice by a signed writing.