A conservatorship is a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization to care for another adult.  The adult may be mentally ill, psychotic, suicidal, incapacitated, or unable to make legal, medical, or financial decisions on behalf of themselves.  The person in authority is a conservator; the person in care is the conservatee.  Conservatorships come in two types: Probate and Lanterman-Petris-Short(LPS).

A probate conservatorship is based on the laws of the probate code, which varies by state.  This is the most common type of conservatorship.  Probate conservatorships can be split into two categories: General and Limited.  The former is for adults who cannot take care of themselves or their finances.  They are normally elderly, but can also be younger but seriously impaired.  The latter is for adults with developmental disabilities that may not be able to fully take care of themselves or their finances.  The conservatees do not need as high a level of care as those in general conservatorships. 

Probate Conservators come in two types: Conservators of the Person and Conservators of the Estate.  Conservators of the Person are responsible for food, clothing, shelter, and health care.  They may also be needed to make important medical choices for the conservatee.  Conseravtors of the Estate handles financial matters such as paying bills and collecting a person's income.

A Lanterman-Petris-Short(LPS) Conservatorship is used for special needed for adults with serious mental illnesses.  This conservatorship is used for people who need very restrictive living arrangements.  Conservatees in LPS conservatorships either refuse or will agree to the special living arrangements on their own.  An LPS Conservatorship must be started by a local government agency.  You should contact your local county Public Guardian or Public Conservator if the adult in question needs this time of help. 

Providing for an elderly relative can be a daunting and stressful task.  Rocket Lawyer can make it easier for you to ensure that your loved one receives the appropriate care.  Visit our Estate Planning Companion for more information about caring for your loved one.