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Probate Investigations

Relative Guardianship Investigations

The Probate court appoints Family Court Services to conduct investigations of proposed guardians, who are relatives of children whose parents are otherwise unable to meet the best interest of the children pursuant to Probate Code § 1513(a).

Beginning January 2, 2020, Family Court Services has been conducting background checks in relative guardianship cases for all petitioners and other adults residing in the home. A guardianship questionnaire must be completed and submitted to Family Court Services. When submitting the questionnaires, petitioners can email them directly.

Conservatorship Investigations

The Probate court appoints a Court Investigator to conduct an investigation for limited and general conservatorship proceedings of the person and the estate.

What is conservatorship?

A conservatorship is a court proceeding in which a judge appoints a family member, friend or other responsible person (conservator) to take care of a dependent adult (conservatee) who cannot care of himself/herself and/or their finances.
There are two types of conservatorships, person and estate. Conservatorship of the Person:
In these situations, the conservator is responsible for ensuring the conservatee has proper food, clothing, shelter, and health care. Depending on the conservatee’s ability to understand and make decision, the conservator may need to make important medical choices for him or her. Conservatorship of the Estate:
The conservator handles the conservatee’s financial matters. These responsibilities include the conservatee’s finances, protecting income and property, paying bills, making investments, preparing and filing taxes on behalf of the conservatee. The conservator is also required to make regular reports of financial account to the courts and other interested parties.

General Conservatorship v. Limited Conservatorship

General Conservatorships:
Are for elderly people, but can also be for younger people who have been seriously impaired, for example a traumatic brain injury as result of a motor vehicle accident. Limited Conservatorships: Are for adults with developmental disabilities who cannot fully provide basic needs of food shelter and clothing or their finances. Conservatees in Limited Conservatorships do not need the higher level of care that conservatees in General Conservatorships need. The responsibility of the limited conservator is to help the limited conservatee develop maximum self-reliance and independence.

What is a temporary conservatorship?

A temporary conservatorship may be set up when a person needs immediate help. A judge may appoint a temporary conservator to take care of the conservatee’s immediate needs until a permanent conservator can be appointed. A temporary conservator may be a conservator of the person, conservator of the estate, or both. He or she arranges for temporary care, protection, and support of the conservatee and protects the conservatee’s finances and property from loss or damage until a permanent conservator can be appointed. The authority of the temporary conservator is much more limited than a permanent conservator.

What is a Lanternman-Petris-Short (LPS) Conservatorship?

Lanternman-Petris-Short (LPS) conservatorships are based on the Lanternman-Petris-Short Act of 1969 law named after its sponsors. The LPS conservatorships are created to arrange for certain types of very restrictive living arrangements and extended mental health treatment for people who are unable to provide for their own needs for food, clothing, or shelter as a result of a mental disorder or chronic alcoholism, and who cannot agree to the arrangement of treatment voluntarily. This process must be started by a local government agency, usually a county’s public guardian or public conservator. Therefore, Family Court Services does not cover these conservatorships.

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