Search
Conservatorship
This section offers information on the different types of conservatorships, how to file for a conservatorship and the forms that are needed to file for a conservatorship.
What types of conservatorship actions are there?

A General Probate Conservatorship is for adults who are unable to provide for their personal needs due to physical injury, dementia or other reasons making them subject to undue influence.

Limited Conservatorship is a probate conservatorship only for a person who is developmentally disabled.

To learn more about Probate Conservatorships

The Conservatorship Handbook is also available for self-printing on the Administrative Office of the Courts website. Click here to access the Conservatorship Handbook http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/handbook.pdf

What is a conservatorship?

Conservatorship is a legal determination by the court placing the interests of a vulnerable adult in the care and protection of another.

Who may need a conservatorship?

Any adult who is unable to take care of his or her own needs for shelter, food, or medical care or is unable to manage personal finances, and is subject to undue influence.

What is the purpose of a conservatorship proceeding?

Conservatorship proceedings are initiated in order to have a family member, friend, private professional or fiduciary appointed to handle the personal care and/or financial affairs of the conservatee.

Who can be a conservator?

Conservators are usually family members or close friends. If there is no one close to the conservatee who is able to act in his or her behalf, a private professional conservator or the Public Guardian may be designated.

How does the Court monitor probate General and Limited Conservatorships?

A court appointed investigator will visit the conservatee and speak with the conservator and any other persons or agencies providing services to the conservatee on a yearly basis.

What happens after the petition for a probate conservatorship is filed?

An investigator will interview the proposed conservatee and conservator (s) and any other agencies or individuals who may be able to provide pertinent information to the court. The investigator will prepare a report for the court’s consideration prior to the court hearing.

How do I establish a probate conservatorship?
  • Step 1 Gather the information you will need to fill out your forms
  • Step 2 Fill out your forms
  • Step 3 File your forms
  • Step 4 Get a hearing date and case number
  • Step 5 Serve your forms
  • Step 6 Go to the hearing
What is the filing fee?

Click here for filing fees.

What if I Cannot Afford to Pay the Filing Fee?

Requesting That Fees Be Waived

If you are getting public benefits, are a low-income person, or do not have enough income to pay for your household’s basic needs and your court fees, you may ask the court to waive all or part of your court fees. To ask for a fee waiver:

  1. Carefully read the Information Sheet on Waiver of Superior Court Fees and Costs (form FW-001-INFO) to determine if you qualify
  2. Fill out the Request to Waive Court Fees (form FW-001)
  3. Fill out sections 1, 2, and 3, of Order on Court Fee Waiver (FW-003)
  4. Turn in these forms to the clerk along with the other documents you are filing (example: complaint, petition, answer, etc.)

You may be ordered to go to court to answer questions about your ability to pay court fees and costs and to provide proof of eligibility.

Granting or Denial of Fee Waiver Request

You will receive an Order on Court Fees Waiver (form FW-003) telling you if your request was granted (approved) or denied. The Order will explain how to proceed. Act quickly - you only have 10 days from the date the Order is mailed to you to comply with the order or exercise your options if your request was denied.

Paying Back Filing Fees

Even if your fees are waived at first, you may have to pay them back later:

  • If your finances improve you must tell the court within five days. Fill out the Notice to Court of Improved Financial Situation or Settlement (form FW-010) and file it with the court. You may be ordered to repay any amounts that were waived.
  • If you receive a judgment or support order in a family law matter you may be ordered to pay all or part of your waived fees and costs if the court determines that you can afford to pay. You can ask the court for a hearing if the court makes such a decision.
  • If you win your case in most circumstances the other side will be ordered to pay your waived fees and costs to the court. The court will not enter a satisfaction of judgment until the court is paid.
  • If you settle your civil case for $10,000.00 or more any waived fees and costs must first be paid to the court out of the settlement. The court will have a lien on the settlement and may refuse to dismiss the case until the lien is satisfied. A request to dismiss the case must reflect that the waived fees and costs have been paid.

The court can collect fees and costs due to the court. If waived fees and costs are ordered paid to the trial court, the court can start collection proceedings.


To Learn More about Probate Conservatorships:

Orientation for proposed conservators is held every Tuesday afternoon (with the exception of court holidays) from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The orientation is held at the Central Justice Center, Room A-100, 700 Civic Center Drive, Santa Ana, CA 92701. No appointment is necessary to attend the orientation. The Conservatorship Handbook is available for a cost of $20.00 at the Probate Clerks Office.

If you are going to file, or have already filed, a conservatorship petition for an adult or soon-to-be adult with developmental disabilities and you do not have a lawyer, you may be eligible for free legal assistance.

To view a complete listing of Local Probate forms click HERE

To view a listing of Judicial Council Forms for Probate matters, click HERE

© 2014 Superior Court of Orange County