Understanding Court Conservatorship: A Step-by-Step Guide

Getting a court conservatorship is a legal process that involves appointing a person or organization to manage the financial or personal affairs of an adult who is unable to do so themselves due to incapacity. This process can be necessary in situations where an adult becomes incapacitated due to age, illness, or disability. Here’s a general step-by-step guide on how to obtain a court conservatorship:

Understanding Conservatorship

Definition: Conservatorship, sometimes known as “adult guardianship,” is a legal status wherein a court appoints a responsible person or entity (the Conservator) to care for another adult (the Conservatee) who cannot care for themselves or manage their own finances.

Types of Conservatorship: – There are two main forms of Conservatorship. A “Conservatorship of the Person” manages the personal needs such as healthcare and living arrangements of another. This is also known as a Guardianship. A “Conservatorship of the Estate” Manages financial affairs, including paying bills, talking with health insurance, and managing assets.

Steps to Obtain a Conservatorship

1. Determine the Need: Assess whether the adult truly cannot manage their own affairs. This often requires the medical opinion of a doctor who can perform the proper tests to determine a person’s mental capacity. Many courts also require a doctor’s letter, verifying that the person is truly unable to manage their own affairs.

2. Consult an Attorney: Since Conservatorship involves legal processes, it’s advisable to seek legal counsel, especially in complex cases. An attorney experienced in Conservatorships will be able to explain the process, and make sure all the requirements are met so that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

3. Choose a Conservator: This can be a family member, a close friend, or a professional. The person should be trustworthy and capable of managing the responsibilities. Acting as Conservator can be a lot of work, so choose someone who can make the investment of time and energy.

4. File a Petition: Submit a petition for Conservatorship to the local court. This document should include detailed information about the proposed conservatee’s condition and the need for conservatorship.

5. Notify Interested Parties: Family members and other interested parties must be notified about the conservatorship proceedings. This also includes the person who the request is for.

6. Court Evaluation: The court may appoint an investigator to assess the conservatee’s situation and the suitability of the proposed conservator.

7. Hearing: A court hearing will be held where the judge will consider all the evidence and make a decision.

8. Granting of Conservatorship: If the court approves, they will issue an order appointing the conservator.

9. Fulfilling Conservator Duties: The conservator will have to manage the conservatee’s affairs as per the court’s instructions and may need to report back to the court periodically.


A Conservatorship is essentially a request to take someone’s rights away. The Courts take this kind of request very seriously, and will carefully evaluate all of the circumstances involved. Some specific court considerations are:

Rights of the Conservatee: The process must respect the rights and dignity of the conservatee.
Limited Conservatorship: In some cases, a limited conservatorship might be appropriate, where the conservatee retains some rights and freedoms.
Duration: Conservatorship can be temporary or permanent, depending on the situation. An Emergency Conservatorship may be appropriate where the person has suffered a temporary but serious medical issue, and is expected to recover after a few weeks or months.

Legal and Ethical Responsibilities

Acting in Best Interest: The conservator is legally bound to act in the best interest of the conservatee.
Accountability: Regular accounting of the conservatee’s finances may be required. This may include filing a financial report with the Court, to ensure the Conservatee’s assets are managed properly and that they aren’t being taking advantage of.


Obtaining a conservatorship is a significant legal step and should be considered carefully. It’s crucial to understand the responsibilities and legal obligations that come with being a conservator. Always seek legal advice and work closely with all parties involved to ensure the best outcome for the conservatee.

Remember, laws can vary significantly by jurisdiction, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the specific laws and procedures in your state or country. We are happy to help in any way we can, and initial consultations are free. Contact us any time with questions.

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