A petition must be filed with the Superior Court in the county in which the proposed conservatee resides. There are two kinds. A conservatorship of the estate or a conservatorship of the person (or both). There must be a showing of inability to manage one's affairs and property. The length of the process depends, do some degree, on the court calender in the particular county. It also depends on whether there is any opposition to the petition by the proposed conservatee or other interested parties.
Attorney fees are difficult to predict until you know if there is going to be a contest. Generally the fee is on an hourly basis.
If there are objections by the proposed conservatee, the court will appoint a lawyer (from a specialized panel of attorneys) to review the matter, interview the proposed conservatee, and make a recommendation to the court and the matter will be heard as a contested matter. The proposed conservatee may also re tain his/her own lawyer.
DISCLAIMER: The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship or any right of confidentiality between you and the responding attorney. These responses are intended only to provide general information about perceived legal issues within the question. Each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer is not a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances.
As your question is very broad, it would be better to make an appointment to consult with an attorney to fully explain the process.
Briefly, you will need a medical diagnosis that confirms that the proposed Conservatee cannot manage his or her own affairs. A Petition must be filed, it must be published, and all known potential heirs must be notified. A hearing is set for approximately 30-60 days from the date of filing. If granted, the Conservatorship continues until the Conservatee dies, or recovers and is no longer in need of it. if the proposed Conservatee opposes, the court will decide based on evidence presented by the proposed Conservator, the Probate Investigator (assigned by the court when Petition is filed), and the proposed Conservatee.
The filing and investigator fees are approximately $1000, and the attorneys' fees are generally billed hourly and of course continue throughout the Conservatorship as yearly accountings and status reports are required. If there are sufficient funds in the estate, the Conservator can request court approval for the estate to pay for the fees, but must not pay fees from the estate with said approval.
If the proposed conservatee is willing to agree and still has testamentary capacity, it may be possible to avoid a conservatorship of the estate and/or person by doing the proper estate planning. Living trusts, durable powers of attorney, and advance health care directives are often used to try to avoid a conservatorship. I suggest that you seek advice from an attorney who specializes in estate planning in order to determine whether a conservatorship is required.
This response is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to create any attorney-client relationship.