Upon expiration of a temporary conservatorship, the doctor may file a petition for a permanent conservatorship with the court if a person is still considered gravely disabled.
It is important not to confuse Lanterman Petris Short (LPS) conservatorship with probate conservatorship of an estate and/or person. Only under LPS conservatorship can a person continue to receive mental health treatment against his/her will. Great care should be taken by staff to check and make sure what type of conservatorship a client is on before proceeding with mental health treatment.
LPS conservatorship, once granted by a judge at a hearing, lasts up to one year. The conservator may be a private citizen or someone from the public guardian's office. Conservators are legally responsible for making sure that the client is receiving appropriate treatment that best facilitates a patient's overall needs.
When a person is petitioned for conservatorship, an investigator is responsible for investigating all available alternatives to conservatorship and shall make a recommendation for or against conservatorship in writing to the court. The report contains relevant aspects of the person's, medical, psychological, financial, family, vocational, and social condition, and information obtained from the person's family members, close friends, social worker, or principal therapist.
If conservatorship is granted, the person may request a reconsideration hearing with a public defender. If the request for release at the reconsideration hearing is not granted the person may have another such hearing six months later. (There are other legal vehicles through which a person may challenge conservatorship such as appeals and writs of habeas corpus.)
Barring a court determination at the time the conservatorship is appointed, a conservatee retains the right to:
- Have the privilege of possessing a license with the DMV.
- Enter into contracts.
- Possess a firearm pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 8103.
- Refuse or consent to treatment relating to the conservatee's being gravely disabled.
- Refuse or consent to medical treatment (except in emergency cases in which the conservatee faces loss of life or serious bodily injury).
At all times a conservatee retains the rights listed in WIC 5325 AND 5325.