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Office of The Public Guardian

Interim Public Guardian: James Kwon

The Public Guardian is responsible for the care of individuals who are no longer able to make decisions or care for themselves. 
Establishing a public guardian or a conservatorship is a legal process where a third party (conservator) is given the legal authority to manage the financial affairs and/or the care of another individual (conservatee). 

The Public Guardian is deemed as the "conservator of last resort," meaning that all other viable alternatives need to be considered before the Public Guardian is granted the Conservatorship of an individual. 

Conservatorship is a lengthy legal process and is not intended for immediate emergency intervention. IF THERE IS AN IMMEDIATE CONCERN REGARDING AN ELDER OR DEPENDENT ADULT, please contact the Adult Protective Services office at 800-451-5155 (24 hour hotline). 


The Process: 

The Superior Court determines whether a person is unable to care for and make decisions for themselves and whether appointing a Public Guardian/conservator is appropriate. Once appointed by the court, the Public Guardian assumes personal and/or financial responsibilities for the care of the conservatee and their needs and assets. 
The Office of The Public Guardian provides assistance in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call (714) 567-7660. 
The Public Guardian oversees two types of conservatorships: Probate and Lanterman-Short-Petris (LPS). 
Probate conservatorship is established for individuals who are unable to care for themselves or who are subject to physical, mental, or financial abuse, where no other alternative exists. Often these individuals suffer from dementia, traumatic brain injury, or other cognitive impairments.  
LPS conservatorships are established for individuals who are mentally ill, and who have also been deemed gravely disabled, or are a danger to themselves or others. 


LPS Program  

An LPS conservatorship of the person and their estate may be established for any person who is deemed "gravely disabled" as a result of a mental health disorder. Being “gravely disabled” means that the individual in question is no longer able to provide for their own food, clothing, or shelter because of a mental health disorder. 
LPS referrals can only be accepted from designated mental health facilities. 
Upon acceptance of a referral, an investigation will be completed to ascertain whether a conservatorship is appropriate. A temporary conservatorship may be requested to continue the investigation and determine the need for continued conservatorship. At this time, the Public Guardian's office also determines whether third-party assistance can be provided, whether a viable alternative to conservatorship exists, or if there is someone who is able and willing to act as a conservator other than the Public Guardian. 

Contact the LPS Unit 

Please contact the Public Guardian and request to speak with the Officer of the Day or a Supervisor in the LPS unit at (714) 567-7660 for any questions concerning the requirements for submitting a referral. 


Probate Program

The Probate unit responds to referrals from Adult Protective Services (APS), local law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, the community, and the Superior Court to investigate information received regarding individuals who are unable to provide for their own basic needs of physical health, food, clothing, and shelter and who are at risk of either self-neglect, undue influence by others, or whose property is subject to loss, theft, waste or misappropriation. 
Upon acceptance of a referral, an investigation will be completed to ascertain whether a conservatorship is appropriate.

Probate Referral Form (Revised 10-14-21) Submit an Online Probate Referral



Orange County Court Website
Probate Referee Guide
Conservatorship Handbook
Judicial Council Forms
Self Help Flyer
Recording: Mental Health Conservatorship Reappointment Workshop for Private LPS Conservators