There are times when it is necessary to get the court to appoint someone to look after the interests of a person over the age of 18 who has physical or mental disabilities which prevent them from being able to make day-to-day decisions and/or to handle their financial matters. In California a party or parties can be appointed conservator of the person, conservator of the estate or of both. There are also times when it is necessary for a non-parent to have custody over a minor (ward) because the biological parents are unavailable or unable to meet their parental responsibilities.
The court depends heavily on its ordered investigation of the parties to insure that the best interest of the conservatee or the ward are the primary concern and that no one takes financial or other advantage of them. Notification of all relatives within the second degree (parents, children, siblings) is crucial. It is assumed that these people are in a position to know the circumstances and will give input if there is anything they believe the court should be aware of.
The paperwork for both conservatorships and guardianships is lengthy and complicated. It is possible to ask the court for a temporary conservatorship or guardianship if there are emergency needs. These orders, if granted, are usually good until the investigation and subsequent court hearings take place and final orders are made.
In cases where there is a financial estate, the court will most likely require a bond be secured to protect the funds, and that yearly detailed accountings of the monies be provided.