Office of the Public Guardian

Serving: Orange County Residents

Facility: County Operated

Region: Countywide

Address: 1300 S. Grand Ave., Bldg. #C, Santa Ana, CA 92705

Phone: (714) 567-7660     Fax: (714) 567-7633

Eligibility: Conservatorship referral criteria-LPS-Grave disability due to a mental disorder and unable to provide for their food, clothing or shelter. Probate-Unable to provide for their food, clothing or shelter due to a disabling medical condition

Language(s): English, Spanish, Vietnamese

Hours of Operation: 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday–Friday

LPS Program Description: The Public Guardian serves the community by providing investigative and fiduciary services to adults who are unable to provide their own basic personal needs due to a severe mental disorder or disabling physical condition. Public Guardian deputies and staff are committed to ensure that individualized personal treatment, supervision and financial oversight is provided so that conservatee achieve their highest level of self-determination, autonomy and independence.

The Office of the Public Guardian is dedicated to the physical and financial safety of persons unable to do so on their own that are conserved when there are no viable alternatives to a public conservatorship. The Superior Court determines whether a conservatorship should be established, involving a court process that includes petitioning the court and notifying the proposed conservatee and his or her family of the proceedings. A conservatorship is only established as a last resort through a formal hearing. The Court can appoint the Public Guardian as a conservator of the person only, estate only (for probate) or both person and estate.

Probate Program Description: A sudden severe medical emergency triggers conservatorship proceeding especially when a disabled or older adult becomes incapacitated and requires the services of a surrogate decision-maker. Medical professionals and family members consult to determine the best course of medical treatment, placement and financial management. When there are no family members to take responsibility for the disabled adult, and there is a need for a fiduciary, the Public Guardian may receive a referral and conduct an investigation to determine if the agency should act.

Victims of physical or financial abuse may also be referred to the Public Guardian for an investigation to determine if a conservatorship is warranted. The Public Guardian may petition for a conservatorship when there is no one else to take responsibility and there are no other alternatives.

A conservatorship is a legal proceeding where a petitioning party seeks a court order to be the surrogate decision-maker over an adult who is incapacitated.  Imposing a conservatorship over an individual is a serious matter since the disabled or older adult loses the ability to make decisions related to consenting to medical care, placement and managing money.  A conservatorship may last a lifetime and will only be dismissed if the disabled adult regains capacity.

When the Public Guardian is appointed as the conservator, the person placed under conservatorship, is assigned to a Deputy Public Guardian to oversee all aspects of personal care of the person and financial management of the estate.

For additional information, please visit The Orange County Superior Court website at: