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Using Limited Conservatorships To Protect Vulnerable Adults

A limited conservatorship is a court arrangement where a conservator, usually a family member, cares for and protects a developmentally disabled adult and provides for the person’s needs associated with daily life.

The court procedure is much shorter and has fewer administrative requirements than a normal conservatorship.


1. What are “limited conservatorships”?

Limited conservatorships give family members of developmentally disabled adults the legal authority to care for loved ones whose ability to care for themselves is impaired or leaves them open to fraud or abuse.

2. So, what is a “general conservatorship”?

General conservatorships are for people who can no longer care for themselves because of diminished physical or mental abilities caused by aging, sickness or accident. Their disability began after age 18.

3. What are “guardianships”?

Conservatorships are often confused with guardianships. A guardianship is a court proceeding where a responsible person (the “guardian”) is appointed to protect the person or estate of a minor (i.e., under age 18).

4. Who can apply for a limited conservatorship?

“Limited conservatorships” are for individuals who are unable to care for themselves as a result of an intellectual or developmental disability, which began before 18. Usually a family member applies for a limited conservatorship.

5. What are the responsibilities of a limited conservator?

As a limited conservator, you must take care of the conservatee’s:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Well-being

6. How do limited conservatorships help the developmentally disabled?

Limited conservatorships are intended to enable the developmentally disabled to receive services in order to lead independent and productive lives, to the fullest extent possible.

7. What is the “Public Guardian”?

The Public Guardian serves people who cannot provide basic services for themselves and do not have family, friends or others who are willing or able to start conservatorship proceedings on their behalf. These people are often the mentally ill or seniors but not the developmentally disabled.

Your local regional center will evaluate the proposed limited conservatee to determine if he or she is developmentally disabled. ​​If your family already receives the services of a regional center, your loved one automatically qualifies as developmentally disabled. The regional center will usually write a report to the court approving the conservatorship.

For Help Setting Up A Limited Conservatorship, Contact Rita Holder Law

To set up an initial consultation, contact Rita Holder Law by calling 925-401-7885 or filling out our online contact form.