How Much Does A Conservator Get Paid In California? A Breakdown

When a person becomes unable to care for themselves or manage their finances, the court may appoint a conservator to handle these duties. But how much does a conservator get paid in California for taking on this important role?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: In California, conservators typically earn an annual fee equal to a percentage of the assets they manage, often between 1-4%.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the typical pay structure for California conservators, look at average incomes, discuss factors that impact compensation, and provide tips for conservators to get fair pay.

Typical Pay Structure for California Conservators

Conservators play a crucial role in managing the financial affairs and well-being of individuals who are unable to do so themselves. In California, the pay structure for conservators can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the estate or assets being managed, the level of experience and expertise of the conservator, and the specific arrangements made with the conservatee or their family.

Percentage of Assets Managed

One common pay structure for conservators in California is based on a percentage of the assets they manage. This means that the conservator receives a portion of the value of the estate or assets they are responsible for overseeing.

The percentage can vary, but it is typically between 1% and 5% of the total value. This model ensures that conservators are compensated fairly for their time and effort, while also providing an incentive for them to maximize the value and growth of the assets under their care.

It’s important to note that this percentage-based pay structure is subject to approval by the court overseeing the conservatorship. The court will carefully review the proposed compensation arrangement to ensure that it is reasonable and in the best interest of the conservatee.

Hourly Rate Model

Another pay structure that some conservators in California may use is an hourly rate model. This means that the conservator charges an hourly fee for their services, similar to how other professionals, such as attorneys or accountants, bill their clients.

The hourly rate can vary depending on factors such as the conservator’s level of experience, the complexity of the case, and the specific tasks involved.

It’s worth noting that the hourly rate model may be more suitable for conservators who are working on smaller estates or cases that require less time and effort. For larger estates or more complex cases, a percentage-based pay structure may be more appropriate to adequately compensate the conservator for their expertise and the responsibility they assume.

It is recommended that conservators in California consult with an attorney or professional organization, such as the Professional Fiduciary Association of California (PFAC), for guidance on appropriate pay structures and to ensure compliance with legal and ethical standards.

For more information on the pay structure for conservators in California, you can visit the PFAC website at

What is the Average Income for a Conservator?

When it comes to the average income for a conservator in California, it can vary depending on whether the conservator is an individual or a professional fiduciary. Let’s take a closer look at the income range for each category:

For Individuals

Individual conservators are often family members or close friends who take on the responsibility of caring for someone who is unable to manage their own affairs. Since individual conservators are not typically hired professionals, they do not receive a salary for their services.

Instead, they may be entitled to reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred while carrying out their duties as a conservator.

It is important to note that reimbursement amounts can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the conservatorship and the financial resources of the individual under conservatorship. Reimbursement may cover expenses such as medical bills, housing costs, and other necessities related to the care of the conservatee.

For Professional Fiduciaries

Professional fiduciaries are individuals or entities that are hired to act as conservators or trustees for individuals who are unable to manage their own affairs. They are typically licensed professionals with expertise in managing finances and making decisions on behalf of their clients.

The income for professional fiduciaries can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and the complexity of the conservatorship. According to the Professional Fiduciary Association of California, the average hourly rate for professional fiduciaries in California ranges from $125 to $300 per hour.

It is important to note that professional fiduciaries may also charge additional fees for services such as asset management, investment advice, and court appearances. These fees are typically outlined in a written agreement between the professional fiduciary and their client.

For more information on the income range for professional fiduciaries in California, you can visit the Professional Fiduciary Association of California’s website at

Factors That Impact Conservator Compensation

When it comes to determining how much a conservator gets paid in California, there are several factors that come into play. These factors can greatly impact the amount of compensation that a conservator receives for their services.

Here are three key factors that can influence conservator compensation:

Size of Estate

The size of the estate is one of the main factors that can impact how much a conservator gets paid. Typically, conservators are entitled to a percentage of the estate’s value as compensation for their services. The larger the estate, the higher the potential compensation for the conservator.

This is because managing a larger estate requires more time, effort, and responsibility.

According to a study conducted by the California Courts, conservators in the state can expect to earn an average of 1-2% of the estate’s value as compensation. However, it’s important to note that this is just an average and the actual percentage may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

Complexity of Duties

The complexity of the duties involved in the conservatorship can also impact the level of compensation. Some conservatorships may be relatively straightforward, while others may involve complex financial matters, legal issues, or difficult family dynamics.

Conservators who have to navigate these complexities may be entitled to higher compensation due to the additional time and expertise required to fulfill their duties.

For example, if a conservator is responsible for managing investments, handling tax matters, or resolving disputes among family members, their compensation may be higher than that of a conservator who has simpler responsibilities.

Time Required

The amount of time required to fulfill the duties of a conservator is another factor that can impact compensation. Conservators are typically paid an hourly rate for the time they spend on tasks related to the conservatorship.

The more time a conservator has to dedicate to the role, the higher their compensation is likely to be.

According to a survey conducted by the Professional Fiduciary Association of California, conservators in the state typically charge an hourly rate ranging from $150 to $350. However, it’s important to note that these rates can vary depending on factors such as the conservator’s experience, the complexity of the case, and the geographic location.

Tips for Getting Fair Pay as a Conservator

Track Your Hours

One of the most important tips for getting fair pay as a conservator is to track your hours accurately. This means keeping a detailed record of the time you spend on various tasks related to your conservatorship duties.

By documenting your hours, you can provide evidence of the work you have done and the time you have invested in the role. This can be especially helpful when it comes to negotiating your pay or if you need to petition the court for adjustments.

Document Your Work

In addition to tracking your hours, it is crucial to document your work as a conservator. This includes keeping records of the tasks you have completed, any decisions you have made, and any significant events or incidents that have occurred during your tenure.

By maintaining thorough documentation, you can provide a clear picture of the responsibilities you have taken on and the impact you have had as a conservator.

Review Taxes and Finances

Understanding the financial aspects of your role as a conservator is essential for ensuring fair pay. Take the time to review tax obligations and any financial arrangements associated with your conservatorship.

This includes understanding how your pay is calculated, any deductions or withholdings that may apply, and any additional compensation or benefits you may be entitled to. Consulting with a financial advisor or tax professional can provide valuable insights into maximizing your income as a conservator.

Petition the Court for Adjustments

If you feel that your current pay as a conservator is not fair or does not adequately reflect the time and effort you are putting into the role, don’t hesitate to petition the court for adjustments. Gather all the necessary documentation, such as your tracked hours and documented work, and present a clear case for why you believe your pay should be adjusted.

The court will review your petition and consider the evidence you provide, making a decision based on what is fair and reasonable.

Remember, getting fair pay as a conservator is not only important for your financial well-being but also for ensuring that you are recognized and compensated appropriately for the important work you do.

By tracking your hours, documenting your work, reviewing taxes and finances, and petitioning the court if necessary, you can take steps to ensure that you are fairly compensated as a conservator in California.


While individual conservators may earn modest incomes in the thousands, professional fiduciaries in California can earn $90,000 or more managing multiple estates.

By tracking their time, documenting their work, and petitioning the court when needed, conservators can receive fair pay for providing this crucial care and service.

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