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Conservatorship & Guardianship

Assistance with Conservatorships and Guardianships

Conservatorship or Guardianship, in the United States, is the legal proceeding that determines who the “guardian” or “conservator” of a person will be in case the latter is no longer capable of taking care of himself or can no longer make sound decisions about their financial assets and real property.

Having a pre-established conservator indicated in your power of attorney is vital.  A concrete plan for the future can give confidence and peace of mind for individuals, like you, who are concerned about who will act in your best interest if something should happen to you.  Though it may be difficult to think about it, it is still for you own good (and your loved ones’ too) to prepare for the inevitable as early as today.


An important step involved in the conservatorship or guardianship establishment process is finding a highly-qualified attorney who will help you in getting through the process – by properly completing and filing the correct documents.  A legal service provider will give expert advice in all areas involving conservatorship . For instance, if you are diagnosed with an illness, figured in an accident, or if you suddenly find yourself incapacitated for any reason, your lawyer can help your assigned conservator with all of the paperwork in order to establish your conservatorship as soon as possible.  Indeed, having a lawyer help assure that you are properly cared for and that your estate is handled according to your legal requests.

Robert A. Smykowski & David P. Smykowski have over 37 years of experience dealing with conservatorships and guardianships.  The Smykowski Law Offices will always strive to provide a personalized, dedicated service that is reliable and trustworthy.

Understanding Conservatorships and Guardianships in California


Legally, a probate court in California is authorized to formally designate a conservator to manage the affairs of a person who is no longer capable of taking care of himself or who has been medically listed as incompetent.  In these situations, that person must be absolutely unable to manage his own personal or financial affairs.  If a conservator or guardian has not been pre-established, the courts will pick someone.  In usual cases, it is the closest blood relation or the living spouse gets designated.  This individual will then be able to exercise legal power over the incapacitated party in order to help deal with important matters concerning the latter, as well as to help dictate what happens to their assets, including his real property.

Conservatorship vs. Guardianship

What is Guardianship?

Under the law, a guardianship is a court-appointed “protective proceeding” initiated by an person who petitions the court to be designated as the guardian for an incapacitated individual who is an adult or for a minor.


When a person requests that the court appoint him as guardian for decision-making authority (in the best interests) of the respondent, the scope of this authority may extend to medical health, education, and the appropriate placement for residency – all for the individual’s overall well-being.


It is important to note that proper notice must be given to all interested parties and a hearing must be held before a guardianship can be granted.  The court shall find out whether or not it is indeed needed, as well as who is the best person to fill that role.

What is Conservatorship?

A conservatorship is considered by law to be a “protective proceeding.”  Just like a guardianship, it must also be initiated by a petitioner who is seeking to be designated as a conservator for an individual who has been deemed incapacitated by their doctors.


The petitioner may request that the court make them conservator to act on the behalf of the individual who is no longer capable to make decisions on his or her personal capacity, with his or her best interests in mind.


The difference between guardianship and conservatorship is that the latter may be given authority to make decisions in relation to asset management and the control of finances, as well as health, education and residency placement.


It is important to point out that though the authority may be given, not all decisions can be made without the court’s permission.


And, just like guardianship, proper notice must be given to all interested parties and a hearing must be held before Conservatorship can be granted.  The court will then determine whether or not a Conservatorship is needed, as well as who is best person to qualify that role.

Help with Seeking, Granting or Appointing a Conservator or Guardian

The Smykowski Law Offices has been providing services for individuals seeking legal help.  The firm helps clients navigate conservatorship and guardianship issues and makes the process a lot easier for them.  Our team can provide expert advice, as well as assistance with any legal issues regarding granting, appointing or seeking out conservators and guardians for incapacitated individuals or minor children.


Robert A. Smykowski & David P. Smykowski understand that each case is unique and deserves in-depth attention. They will take their time to explain the legal process so that all concerns are addressed fairly and with the utmost care.

Let’s Work Together

To find out more about establishing conservatorship or guardianship, schedule a free consultation by clicking below or call (858) 484-0264 to make an appointment. You can also inquire at

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