Conservator of the Estate

Summary of Timeline and Responsibilities for a Conservator of the Estate


Step 1

You qualify and are appointed conservator of the estate. You may be required to obtain a bond to qualify.

Step 2

Obtain your Letters of Conservatorship and use certified copies of the Letters to notify the conservatee’s banks, creditors, stockbrokers, and others (such as the Social Security Administration or Veterans Affairs) that you are authorized to act on the conservatee’s behalf.

Step 3

Figure out what assets the conservatee owns and locate them. Take immediate steps to protect assets. Consult your lawyer about any urgent steps that may be necessary to prevent loss, such as freezing the assets so that no one but you has access to them. Change the conservatee’s mailing address so that financial correspondence and billing comes to you.

Step 4

Prepare an Inventory and Appraisal of the conservatee’s assets and file it with the court clerk within 90 days after your appointment.

Step 5

Evaluate the conservatee’s financial needs and draw up a plan for meeting those needs (your Conservatorship Plan).

Step 6

Set up a simple, accurate system for keeping records of conservatorship income and expenditures.

Step 7

Protect and manage the conservatee’s finances by:

Step 8

You must file an accounting showing how you handle the conservatee’s income and property within one year after your appointment and at least every two years after that. (Conservators of small estates may be relieved of this task, but don’t assume that unless the court excuses you.)

Step 9

You will serve as conservator until you have filed a final accounting and a judge officially discharges you as conservator. This may happen if you resign, the conservatee dies, a judge withdraws your appointment and replaces you with a new conservator, or a judge decides the conservatee doesn’t need a conservator any longer.

From the Judicial Council of California Administrative Office of the Courts, available at

This is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice.