What is a Conservatorship?

What is a Conservatorship?

  • The CREM Group
  • 11/1/23

Unfortunately, there are instances where a family member or loved one might be compromised physically and mentally and is unable to make decisions for themselves.

During such impairment, any financial affairs needing attention can be handled through a conservatorship. The Britney Spears conservatorship media coverage in the summer of 2021 made more people aware of conservatorships. One of the results is that California Governor Gavin Newsome signed Senate Bill 43 into law on October 12, 2023, to “modernize the state’s conservatorship laws for the first time in more than 50 years.” The law is designed to define and help some new groups of people who could benefit from conservatorships and still have their civil rights protected.

The CREM Group feels families need to know what a conservatorship is relating to real estate transactions, and it is an area in which The CREM Group professionals can through these difficult situations.

Important Definitions

CONSERVATORSHIP is a court proceeding to appoint a manager for the financial affairs or the personal care of one who is either physically or mentally unable to handle either or both.

There are two parties that the judge or court names during the conservatorship court proceeding: the CONSERVATOR and the CONSERVATEE.

The CONSERVATOR is a person (or an organization) appointed by the court to protect and manage the financial affairs and/or personal care of a conservatee.

The CONSERVATEE is a person the court considers to be incapable of protecting and managing their personal care or financial affairs, or both— and for whom the court has appointed a conservator.

There are different types of conservatorships: A General Conservatorship and a Limited Conservatorship. Within those two broad categories is a Temporary Conservatorship, which may be set in place while the General Conservatorship is pursued. Temporary Conservatorships have specific time periods, usually from 30 to 60 days.

Unless otherwise specified, a general conservatorship lasts as long as the conservatee’s life. If, for instance, your family member is able to return to a state of normalcy, the conservatorship can be terminated. These and any details relating to conservatorships should always be checked with an attorney.

How to Obtain a Conservatorship 

Below is a summary of the five steps to obtaining a conservatorship. Be sure to check the details of each and have counsel to ensure you’re proceeding correctly.

  1. The petition will include reasons explaining why conservatorship is necessary and give information about the suggested conservator, the possible conservatee, relatives, and the petitioner (the one filing the petition).

  2. Informing the conservatee – This step must be done by delivering a citation (a court form) and a copy of the petition to the possible conservatee.

  3. Informing the conservatee’s relatives – This phase can be accomplished by mailing a copy of the petition and a written notice of the court hearing to the conservatee’s spouse or partner and close relatives.

  4. Investigation by the court –A neutral court will conduct an inquiry through an independent investigator to determine how the conservatorship would benefit the conservatee.

  5. Court hearing and date – The judge schedules these items after ensuring the parties have been notified. They will also decide if an attorney needs to be present. The conservatee should be there unless excused for illness. If the conservatorship is granted, the court files an order to appoint the conservator and issues Letters of Conservatorship, giving the conservator authority to make decisions on behalf of the conservatee.

Types of Conservatorships in California

In California, the court issues a Conservatorship of the Estate or a Conservatorship of the Person. A Conservatorship of the Estate is the same as a conservatorship. The Conservatorship of the Person requires the conservator to handle the proper food, shelter, clothing, and health care for the conservatee. It also allows the conservator to take the conservatee’s finances, such as paying bills and housing expenses and managing the conservatee’s investments including selling real estate and handling taxes.

Having a conservatorship is a safety measure for the conservatee and their family. The court system is purposefully complicated to ensure the proper people are handling the estate with the conservatee’s interest—not theirs—in mind.

Use the Right People

As an integral part of helping their clients, The CREM Group keeps current with probate, trust, and conservatorship laws to help families sell real estate in special situations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Ventura, and Orange Counties. The CREM Group has aided multiple conservators to manage properties and sell homes under conservatorship.

It’s best to follow the state’s current rules and regulations for all items relating to trusts, probates, and conservatorships to ensure the home and property sales go through without hitches.

Contact The CREM Group here with questions about probate, trust, or conservatorship real estate. And don’t forget “standard” or “normal” residential or commercial properties. They represent those, too. 


DISCLAIMER: This content is meant purely for educational purposes. It contains only general information about real estate and/or legal matters. It is NOT legal advice and should not be treated as such. While an attorney/CPA owns The CREM Group, it is still recommended that readers consult a separate legal or tax professional before acting on any material, opinion, or point of view described herein.

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