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Office of the Public Guardian

Last modified: 8/22/2012 9:28 AM

The Office of the Public Guardian insures the physical and financial safety of persons unable to do so on their own, and when there are no viable alternatives to a public conservatorship. The Superior Court determines whether a conservatorship should be established. The court process includes petitioning the court and notifying the proposed conservatee and his or her family of the proceedings. A conservatorship is only established as a last resort through a formal hearing. The Superior Court can appoint the Public Guardian as a conservator of the person only, estate only (for probate) or both person and estate.

Probate Conservatorships are primarily established for frail adults who are unable to provide for their own personal needs for physical health, food, clothing and/or shelter or cannot manage their own finances or cannot resist undue influence. Probate conservatorships are often used for older adults with severe limitations and for younger adults who have serious cognitive impairments, and will remain in effect until the conservatee can show that he/she is again capable of handling his/her own affairs appropriately. A probate conservator does not have the authority to place a conservatee in a psychiatric treatment facility. Click here for more information on Probate conservatorships.

Referrals are usually made to the Public Guardian through Adult Protective Services or may be made directly to the Public Guardian by a relative, friend, neighbor, doctor, police officer, the court or other concerned individual.

In order to be conserved, a medical declaration must be completed by a licensed physician and submitted to the Court. The medical declaration (forms GC 335 and GC 335A) can be found on the following link:

LPS Conservatorships are established to arrange mental health treatment and placement for people who are gravely disabled and unable to provide for their food, clothing, shelter and treatment needs as a result of a mental disorder. It is named for the three legislators who wrote the law that passed in 1969. An LPS conservator does have the authority to place a conservatee in a psychiatric treatment facility, and these conservatorships must be renewed on an annual basis. Click here for more information on LPS conservatorships.

An LPS conservatorship can only be initiated by a psychiatrist while a patient is in an acute psychiatric hospital. A referral packet must be completed.

Deputy Public Guardians provide each conservatee with the best and most independent living environment possible, within the conservatees' abilities and resources. The Deputy Public Guardian may arrange for health care, housing, meals, transportation, personal care and recreation. In addition, the Deputy Public Guardian may be authorized to gather all assets, apply for income, collect all bills and make decisions on which bills can be paid. The Deputy Public Guardian is accountable to the Superior Court for all actions taken on behalf of the conservatee.

For additional information contact: 408-755-7610

Limited Conservatorships are for developmentally disabled adults who may be able to function in many areas on their own and only need only limited assistance. The Office of the Public Guardian does not offer these services. Please contact the San Andreas Regional Center or the Superior Court.

FINANCIAL ABUSE SPECIALIST TEAM (F.A.S.T.)
The Public Guardian participates in F.A.S.T. with Adult Protective Services, District Attorney, County Counsel, and County Law Enforcement to rapidly respond to allegations of financial abuse on adults and seniors. F.A.S.T. referrals should be made to 1-800-414-2002.

Other sites that may provide information or assistance: