What Are Pros and Cons of a Conservatorship in California?

Most people have heard the term conservatorship, but what does that mean? Furthermore, why would a conservatorship be necessary? A conservatorship is a legal arrangement in California where a court appoints a responsible person, the conservator, to care for an adult, the conservatee, who is unable to care for themselves or their finances.


Here are some of the pros and cons of a conservatorship in California:




Provides protection for the conservatee: A conservatorship provides protection for a vulnerable adult who is unable to care for themselves, by ensuring that their basic needs are met and that their finances are managed appropriately.

Legal authority: The conservator is given legal authority to make decisions on behalf of the conservatee, which can be helpful when the conservatee is unable to make decisions for themselves due to physical or mental incapacity.

Accountability: The conservator is required to report to the court on a regular basis, which helps to ensure that the conservatee’s needs are being met and that their finances are being managed properly.




Loss of autonomy: A conservatorship involves the loss of autonomy for the conservatee, who may be subjected to decisions that they would not have made if they were capable of making decisions for themselves.

Financial cost: A conservatorship can be expensive, as the conservator is typically paid for their services and legal fees can add up.

Legal process: The process of establishing a conservatorship can be lengthy and complicated, requiring multiple court appearances and assessments.

Potential for abuse: In some cases, a conservator may abuse their power, exploiting the conservatee or mismanaging their finances.  This an extremely rare situation, however, as most conservators are supervised by court appointed personnel.




Overall, a conservatorship can be a useful tool to protect vulnerable adults who are unable to care for themselves, but it is not without its drawbacks. It is important to carefully consider the individual circumstances before pursuing a conservatorship and to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that the best interests of the conservatee are being served.

Our estate planning attorneys have extensive experience with conservatorships and would be happy to answer questions and go over pros and cons specific to your situation.

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