Parents have the legal responsibility and right to make decisions for their minor children, however once a child becomes age 18 and is considered an adult in the eyes of the law, responsibility transfers from parents to their adult child.

Most persons with PWS are not able to make informed and appropriate decisions regarding their self-care, medical care, finances and living arrangements therefore PWCF strongly encourages you to pursue legal conservatorship so that you have legal authority to help your loved with decisions that are in his or her best interest.

You may begin the process of conservatorship about six months before your child’s 18th birthday. You will complete a form and file it with your county court. Later, your child and the proposed conservator will speak with a judge who will approve or grant specific rights for the conservatorship. Usually one or both parents serve as the conservator, but this role can be assigned to anyone who is best qualified to make informed legal decisions that are in your loved one’s best interest.

Most families pursue a Probate Limited Conservatorship so that they may receive the legal authority or right to:

1. To decide where the individual lives.
2. To have access to the adult’s confidential records, including medical records, regional center records, school records, mail, and all other confidential records and papers relating to the adult.
3. To make all decisions concerning the adult’s education and vocation.
4. To restrict the adult’s right to enter into a contract.
5. To give or withhold consent for the adult’s medical treatment.
6. To restrict the adult’s social and sexual contacts and relationships.
7. To give or withhold consent to the adult’s marriage.

There are a number of resources to help families learn more about conservatorship options and what is best for your loved one and family. Financial help is also available from various resources.

Make Connections

PWCF maintains online and in-person Support Groups for parents and professionals.

PWSA (USA) maintains several Facebook support groups.

Additional Reading and Resources:


CA Conservator Handbook 

Disability Rights California: Conservatorship publications

Understanding Conservatorship: A Resource for Families (from Alta California Regional Center)

Conservatorship: A Booklet for Lanterman Regional Center Families

California Courts – Self-Help: Conservatorship

Bet Tzedek Legal Services

Note: although two sources are from specific Regional Centers, the general information applies to all California families and therefore are provided as reference material