Public Guardian (Probate)
Serves adults with cognitive impairments by managing their personal and financial needs.
Under the authority of the California Probate Code and the Superior Court, the Public Guardian conducts official investigations into conservatorship matters, and serves as the legally appointed conservator for persons, who have been determined by the Court to be incapable of caring for themselves. These are generally older, frail, and vulnerable adults who are at risk or have been a victim of abuse, neglect, or undue influence.
When appointed conservator, the Public Guardian manages the conservatorship of the person and/or estate. Public conservatorships are established only as a last resort, as determined by the Court. The Court can appoint the Public Guardian as a conservator of the person only, estate only, or both. Generally, a Probate Conservatorship does not expire. However, it may be terminated by the Court upon request.
When appointed conservator of the person, the Public Guardian is responsible for making sure the conservatee has proper food, clothing shelter and health care. Depending on the conservatee’s ability to understand and make decision, the Public Guardian may receive authority from the Court to make medical decisions for the conservatee.
When appointed conservator of the estate, the Public Guardian manages the finances of the conservatee who has been found by the Court to be unable to manage them alone or is susceptible to undue influence. The Public Guardian often takes control of the conservatee’s assets. Collects income, pays debts and taxes, and oversees investment funds.
Probate Conservatorships are generally created for adults who cannot make their own decisions, manage their finances, or avoid fraud/undue influence without help. Most clients suffer from dementia, traumatic brain injury, or other cognitive impairments.
Referrals are usually made through Adult Protective Services and may be made directly by a physician, hospital, skilled nursing facility, or the court.
Forms required for referral are:
Other Probate resources:
Self-help for Probate Conservatorships
Contact the Self Help center
Guardianship & Supported Decision Making Explained - YouTube
Alternatives to Guardianship | Conservator | American College of Trust and Estate Counsel - YouTube
These videos’ practical principles are broadly applicable, the videos and the organization that made them are grounded in Minnesota law, which is not applicable in California. However, Minnesota and California law may be very similar on guardianship and the ideas presented in the videos can be implemented in any setting.
For additional information contact: 408-755-7610
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