Alternatives to Conservatorships for Mentally Ill Persons in Los Angeles and Necessary Documents

Because it is very difficult to get an LPS conservatorship in Los Angeles, California, parents of mentally ill persons should consider alternatives to conservatorships when the occasion allows for the exercise of the alternatives.

What are your goals?

If your goals are to be able to give medical help to your child when a psychiatric episode arises, your goal must include the necessary documents to give him or her the help he needs.   Those documents are 1) Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care with specific mental health provisions, and 2)  HIPAA release specifically made for psychiatric illnesses.

When should you obtain these documents?

The document must be obtained when the mentally ill patient has sufficient capacity to execute them, and not during an episode.   So, as soon as the episode is over, you should encourage him/her to sign those two documents.

Can a Power of Attorney give you the right to medicate a person against his or her will?

Not in California.   However, a Durable Power of Attorney allows the principal to indicate his or her wishes to receive all medication, including psychiatric medication, when he or she is incapacitated.   You should make sure that it is signed in front of a notary, or two unrelated witnesses.

Can a Power of Attorney give you the right to place a person in a locked facility against his or her will?

Not in California.  However, a Durable Power of Attorney can authorize you to select any type of temporary or permanent housing for the incapacitated person, if the language sufficiently describes secured perimeter homes, hospitals, group homes, rehabilitation facilities, gated communities, assisted living locations, skilled nursing facilities, or other locations suitable for the incapacitated person. A health care directive can sometimes avoid conservatorships, but not always.

Call us to discuss your family member’s specific needs, if you have a mentally challenged or mentally ill family member who needs assistance.    Call 818.340.4479 or email us at

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