Municipal Law

Fall River

Public Guardian

Prentice|Long, PC attorneys currently provide full service representation to five counties for their Public Guardian matters. 

The Public Guardian protects and cares for those who cannot properly provide for their personal and/or financial wellbeing alone. The Public Guardian works to ensure that people can live safely and with dignity through a process called “conservatorship,” which provides support including housing or hospitalization, medical care and psychiatric treatment. The Public Guardian acts as a conservator when no other potential conservator or alternative to conservatorship can be found.

There are two types of conservatorships, Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) and probate. As LPS or probate conservator, Public Guardians are involved in all aspects of their clients lives, including financial management, housing, medical care, placement and advocacy. LPS conservators have the additional duty to direct the mental health treatment of their clients. Referrals for probate conservatorships usually come from community members or agencies while referrals for LPS conservatorships can only come from a psychiatrist qualified to make a determination as to whether a client is gravely disabled due to a mental health diagnosis. 

Once established, a probate conservatorship typically continues without need for repetitioning or interruption, but is subject to annual and bi-annual reviews. An LPS conservatorship requires a petition for renewal annually including re-evaluation by the psychiatrist(s) who determine whether the client remains gravely disabled.

Our compassionate attorneys work closely with the Public Guardians and their support staff to ensure the legal requirements of conservatorships are met. The process of obtaining a conservatorship is deliberate and detailed and requires a specialized knowledge of the process, law, and authority granted to a Public Guardian. Whether it requires a court or jury trial, to a bi-annual review, our practiced attorneys are prepared to handle every level of a conservatorship with dignity and competence.