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Guardianships and Conservatorships
The Civl Division of Yuba County Superior Court handles all Guardianship and Conservatorship cases.
Guardianship is a court process by which a person other than a parent is given custody of a child or authority over a child’s property. Appointment as guardian requires the filing of a petition and approval by the Court.
A conservatorship is a court proceeding to appoint a qualified person to manage the financial affairs and/or the personal care of an individual who is either physically or mentally unable to handle his or her own affairs. The person or organization the Court chooses to do this is known as the "conservator." A conservator can be a family member, friend or professional person. The person who cannot care for him or herself is called the "conservatee.”
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What should I do if I need legal advice?
Court Clerks cannot interpret the law or provide legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should consult an attorney
There are also some self-help resources available. We list some of them in the Self-Help section of our website.
- What is Guardianship?
Guardianship is a court process by which a person other than a parent is given custody of a child or authority over a child’s property. Appointment as guardian requires the filing of a petition and approval by the Court. This web site will provide you with some basic information about guardianships. If the Court establishes a probate guardianship, the guardianship may be:
- A guardianship of the person of the child (custody)
- A guardianship of the child’s “estate” (property)
- A guardianship of both the child's person and estate
If the Court appoints you as a guardian for a child, you will assume important duties and obligations. You will become responsible to the Court. It is essential that you clearly understand your duties and responsibilities as guardian. If you have any questions, you should consult with an attorney who is qualified to advise you in these matters.
- What is a Legal Guardian?
A legal guardian is an adult to whom the Court has given authority and responsibility to provide care for a child, or to manage the child’s assets, or both.
- Who may be a legal guardian?
Relatives, friends of the family, or other interested persons may be considered as potential legal guardians.
- Is there anything I should be aware of before I file the petition?
Yes. You should consider the following:
- Is a guardianship really necessary?
- Have you considered the alternatives?
- Do the parents consent to the guardianship?
- Without parental consent, is there enough evidence for you to prove the need for a guardianship?
- Do you need legal advice or assistance?
- What are the alternatives to guardianship?
You can make a private agreement with the child’s parents to provide care for the child. A written agreement can be made showing that you have “custody” of the child with the parents’ consent. Normally, it is also beneficial to secure a medical release for emergencies, especially if a parent is not readily available. NOTE: The parents may revoke this type of agreement at any time.
You can also get a Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit. The California Family Code allows a person who is related to a child to fill out a Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit. The affidavit normally allows that person, as a caregiver, to enroll the child in school and secure medical treatment for the child. California Family Code § 6550 provides details about this law. The caregiver form may be available through private legal publications or from a private attorney. NOTE: The parents may revoke your authority or override your decision under this type of agreement at any time.
The law also allows parents to make other financial arrangements for property inherited by or given to their children. For instance, a blocked account and other protective measures can be used without the appointment of a guardian of the estate. Consultation with an attorney for these types of matters is highly recommended. NOTE: Some financial institutions, insurance companies, and courts require the appointment of a guardian of the estate before they will release funds on behalf of a minor.
- What is a conservatorship?
A conservatorship is a court proceeding to appoint a qualified person to manage financial affairs and/or the personal care of an individual who is either physically or mentally unable to handle his or her own affairs. The person or organization the judicial officer chooses to do this is known as the "conservator." A conservator can be a family member, friend or professional person. The person who cannot care for himself or herself is called the "conservatee."
- Is there more than one type of conservatorship?
Yes. There are two types of conservatorships:
A Limited Probate Conservatorship applies when the conservatee is developmentally disabled. In this type of conservatorship, the powers of the conservator are limited so that the disabled person may live as independently as possible.
A General Probate Conservatorship is for all other adults who are unable to provide for their personal needs due to physical injury, advanced age, dementia, or other conditions rendering them incapable of caring for themselves or making them subject to undue influence.
- What happens after a petition for conservatorship is filed?
Once a petition for conservatorship has been filed, the Court will set the matter for hearing. A court investigator is assigned to interview all persons who are the subject of a petition for conservatorship before the first hearing is held. The court investigator may interview numerous family members, neighbors and others to provide as much information as possible to the Court to assist in making a determination as to whether to grant the conservatorship. When interviewing the proposed conservatee, the purpose of the interview is to determine whether the person understands the proceedings or has any objections to them.
- What do court investigators do in conservatorship cases?
California law requires court investigators to carefully assess the living situations, general health and well-being, and finances of conservatees or potential conservatees to ensure that conservators are acting in the best interests of conservatees. Investigators must visit conservatees regularly, review health and medical records, examine financial accountings prepared by conservators, and prepare reports for the Court on their findings. After a conservatorship appointment has been made, court investigators regularly interview both the conservator and the conservatee and report to the Court about the well-being of the conservatee and whether the conservatee's estate is being properly managed. Investigators review the accountings submitted at regular intervals by the conservator to ensure that the accountings appear reasonable and accurate.
- When does a conservatorship end?
A conservatorship of the person ends when the conservatee dies or the conservatee regains the ability to handle his or her own personal/financial affairs. A conservatorship of the estate ends when the estate runs out of money.
- What is an LPS conservatorship?
Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS) Conservatorships are established to provide help for persons who suffer from a mental disorder or chronic alcoholism. These conservatees may be a danger to themselves or others. The conservator is responsible for helping to find a placement and mental health treatment for the conservatee who is gravely disabled.
- When is an LPS conservatorship appropriate?
An LPS conservatorship is used only when the person needs mental health treatment but cannot or will not accept it voluntarily. Because the person subject to an LPS conservatorship may be placed in a locked facility, there are special protections to ensure that the conservatee's civil rights are protected. By law, these cases are treated as confidential.
Yuba County Superior Court
215 Fifth Street, Suite 200
Marysville, CA 95901
Fax: (530) 740-1821
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.