A Lanterman-Petris-Short Act conservatorship, commonly known as an LPS conservatorship, is a type of conservatorship for individuals sadly suffering from psychotropic problems. These problems can include bi-polar disorder, psycho-effective disorder, psychosis, or other neurological diseases. This form of conservatorship is not for individuals suffering from dementia or other diseases related to mental decline.
An LPS conservatorship has much in common with a traditional conservatorship with some important distinctions. First, an LPS conservatorship is only good for one year. At the end of the one-year period, the court will conduct a hearing to determine if an LPS conservatorship is still necessary to protect the interest of the conservatee. The conservatee will be represented by counsel, often a public defender, at the hearing. The conservatee has and will be afforded the opportunity to present evidence as to why a conservatorship is no longer necessary. The party seeking to continue the LPS conservatorship has the burden of showing that a conservatorship remains necessary. If the court agrees with the conservatee, the conservatorship will end.
Second, in an LPS conservatorship, the conservator can force a conservatee to take psychotropic medication. Other types of conservatorships allow a conservator to require a conservatee to take medication for diabetes, high cholesterol, birth control, anti-seizure medication, etc., but cannot force the consumption of psychotropic medication.
Third, the process of starting an LPS conservatorships is generally commenced by a doctor or other employee working for the government.
Fourth, often the petitioning party is not appointed as the conservator of the person or estate. The court can appoint a family member to be the conservator in an LPS conservatorship, even if the state or other agency started the process.
Finally, an LPS conservatorship, like other conservatorships, can be extremely frustrating for family members. You are asking the court to strip a loved one of certain fundamental rights regarding autonomy, bodily control, and medication. The court should and must take all necessary precautions to ensure that a person’s rights are not trampled by hasty or improper decisions.
If you are running into issues with your conservatorship petition, it is recommended that you reach out to an experienced attorney who can help you with the conservatorship process. At Carmel & Naccasha, attorney Victor Herrera, can assist you and your family with the conservatorship process.