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LPS Conservatorship

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An LPS Conservatorship is the legal term used in California which gives one adult (conservator) the responsibility for overseeing the comprehensive medical (mental) treatment for an adult (conservatee) who has a serious mental illness.

Legal Basis

According to the Welfare and Institutions Code, a conservator may be appointed for a person who is "gravely disabled" meaning that, as a result of a mental disorder, the person is unable to provide for food, clothing or shelter.  Certain criminal defendants incompetent to stand trial may also meet the criteria.


To provide for individualized treatment, supervision, and placement of the conservatee and to manage their financial resources.

How Is It Started?  

Only designated mental health treatment facilities, agencies or the courts can make a referral to the Public Guardian for LPS conservatorship.  Only the Public Guardian can petition the court for the initial appointment as conservator.

How Long Does It Take?  

LPS conservatorship matters are set for hearing and normally decided in less than 30 days.

Who Is Appointed Conservator? 

The Public Guardian, a relative or interested party may be appointed.   However, the Public Guardian investigates all such referrals and submits recommendations to the court.


LPS conservatorship automatically terminates after one year but may be renewed annually at a court hearing.

Persons/Ages Served

Adults of all ages may qualify for LPS conservatorship if they meet the legal criteria described above.

Medical Treatment

The court can authorize both normal medical and mental health treatment, including psychotropic drugs, even when against the will of the individual.

Living Arrangements/Placement 

The conservator usually is authorized to place the conservatee anywhere in California, including locked mental health facilities, as required.