Limited conservatorships are for adults with developmental disabilities. If the adult you are trying to help does not have a developmental disability but needs help taking care of him/herself or his/her finances, see the About Conservatorships page on this website. If the adult you are trying to help has a serious brain disorder, see the LPS Conservatorship page on this website.

What is a limited conservatorship?

A limited conservatorship is a court proceeding where a judge gives a responsible person, called a limited conservator, certain rights to care for another adult who has a developmental disability (DD), called a limited conservatee.

Who decides if the adult is developmentally disabled (DD)?

The Court will decide if the proposed conservatee is developmentally disabled.

Generally, a person qualifies as developmentally disabled if s/he has an IQ less than 70 or is diagnosed with autism. Other conditions can qualify too.

What kind of decisions does a limited conservator makes?

At the hearing, the judge will say exactly what rights the conservator has. Because developmentally disabled people (abbreviated as DD, below) can usually do many things on their own, the judge will only give the limited conservator power to do things the conservatee cannot do without help.

The conservator may:

  • Decide where the DD adult will live (but, NOT in a locked facility).

  • Look at the DD’s adult confidential records and papers.

  • Sign a contract for the DD adult.

  • Give or withhold consent for most medical treatment (NOT sterilization and certain other procedures).

  • Make decisions about the DD adult’s education and vocational training.

  • Place the DD adult at a state hospital for the developmentally disabled Give or withhold consent to the DD adult’s marriage.

  • Control the DD adult’s social and sexual contacts and relationships.

  • Manage the DD adult’s financial affairs

When should I apply for limited conservatorship?

If you are trying to establish a limited conservatorship for someone who will soon be 18, it’s a good idea to start the process more than three months before the DD person’s 18th birthday. Parents, brothers and sisters who may act as limited conservators should talk to the DD person so they know what is best for his/her medical care, living arrangements, education and training.