• Older group of adults outside

Public Administrator / Public Guardian / Public Conservator

Only after a referral from a designated agency or person do staff investigate the personal decision-making, possessions and assets of adult Sonoma County residents who:

  • have died without a will or trust stating how their assets should be distributed or, there is no other person willing or able to act, or
  • may, as a result of a mental illness or inability to make decisions in their own best interests, require a conservator to manage their personal decision-making or financial affairs.

If the investigation shows the need for Sonoma County action, then a petition is filed with the California Superior Court in Sonoma County requesting staff have the authority to act as the administrator of the adult’s estate, or to act as the conservator of the impaired adult’s person and/or estate.

Public Administrator

Investigates referrals.

May legally petition to manage the assets of some residents who:

1) die without a will or trust or
2) have no other person able to act to administer the estate

May also assist with someone’s final wishes. If a person leaves clear instructions and have money to pay for the burial or cremation they wanted, staff can make those arrangements. If the person doesn't leave instructions and funds for burial, staff can ask the coroner to provide a free cremation through the indigent burial program.

Public Guardian

Investigates referrals. If the investigation shows that:

1) the resident is unable to act in their own best interest or
2) resist undue influence of other persons,

then the Public Guardian may legally petition to act as the conservator of the person and/or estate.

Public Conservator

Investigates referrals. If the investigation shows that the person is gravely disabled as the result of a mental illness, may petition to act as the conservator of the person and/or estate. Gravely disabled as the result of a mental illness means that a person is unable to obtain, or cooperate with providing for, their basic needs of food, clothing or shelter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who do I call if I feel an older adult needs assistance?

  • If that person lives in a home or apartment in the community: Adult Protective Services, (800) 667-0404
  • If that person lives in a nursing or residential care facility: Sonoma County Long-Term Care Ombudsman, (800) 231-4024

Who do I call with concerns about someone with a mental illness?

Sonoma County Behavioral Health, 24-Hour Emergency Mental Health Hotline, (800) 746-8181

Contact Information

Office of the Public Administrator, Guardian, Conservator
Human Services Department
Business Hours
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Contact us by Phone
3725 Westwind Boulevard
First Floor
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.510185, -122.796579

Adult Protection Hotline

Call 24/7

(800) 667-0404 or (707) 565-5940


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