Department of Disability and Aging Services (DAS) Public Guardian, Public Conservator, Public Administrator, and Representative Payee Programs

Our programs assist those who are unable to manage their basic personal and financial needs with the goal of promoting their stability and wellness. We also manage the affairs of recently deceased individuals who do not have available friends or family to resolve their estate. The scope of these programs is outlined in California State Code and authorized by the San Francisco Superior Court.

Our programs:  Public Guardian |  Public ConservatorPublic Administrator | Representative Payee  

Public Guardian

The Public Guardian provides critical wraparound services to individuals who are unable to protect themselves from abuse or exploitation or provide for their own basic needs as a result of cognitive impairment often caused by dementia, traumatic brain injury, or other conditions. These services are provided through a legal process known as conservatorship and the Public Guardian must be court-appointed.

The Public Guardian ensures access to comprehensive services that include appropriate medical care, social work services, and financial management. Typically, clients who are served by the Public Guardian do not have available family members or loved ones who can reliably provide these services.

Anyone can make a referral to the Public Guardian. The majority of referrals are from acute care hospitals. For more information, call (415) 355-3555 or email

Public Conservator

The court appoints the Public Conservator to support adults who are unable to meet their basic needs and accept voluntary treatment due to serious mental illness. The Public Conservator has the legal responsibility to authorize psychiatric treatment and placement, collaborates with medical and mental health clinicians, and coordinates other supportive services to promote wellness and recovery in the least restrictive setting possible.

The court accepts conservatorship referrals from hospital and designated facilities as well as from the community through the outpatient referral pathway. The referred person must meet a narrow definition of grave disability due to serious mental illness or chronic alcoholism that prevents them from providing for their food, clothing, or shelter, and who have been found by the court unable or unwilling to accept voluntary treatment. 

In addition, the Housing Conservatorship Pilot serves a limited number of vulnerable adults who suffer from serious mental illness and a substance use disorder.

For more details, call (415) 355-3555.

Public Administrator

The Public Administrator strives to provide dignity after death for San Franciscans who have passed away without available family members or loved ones who are able to handle their estate or remains.

The Public Administrator provides estate administration services including identifying any and all family members and loved ones, searching for wills and trusts, planning the disposition of decedent’s remains, locating and managing assets, monitoring creditor claims, reviewing taxes, and administering asset distribution to heirs and beneficiaries. The Public Administrator must be appointed by the court for large estates.

If our offices have reached out to you or for additional information, please call  (415) 355-3555 or email

Representative Payee

The Representative Payee Program provides financial management services to older adults and adults with disabilities who cannot independently manage  their Social Security (SSA) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, and other public benefits.

This includes supporting enrollment in public benefit programs, as well as working closely with case managers to provide budgeted spending money.  The Representative Payee Program help clients meet their daily needs and maintain well-being and independence.

Participants in this voluntary program must be referred by their case manager. For more information, call (415) 355-3555 .

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