In recent months, pop star Britney Spears’ legal battles have become the center of public scrutiny. What is known as the “Free Britney” movement has taken social media by storm and many people have now become familiar with (at least the idea of) a legal conservatorship. This article will help explain what a conservatorship is and why it can be so controversial.
What Is a Conservatorship?
A conservatorship is a type of legal status where a judge appoints a person or organization (“conservator”) to care for another person (“conservatee”) and their affairs. This is done for the benefit of the conservatee, who is usually incapacitated in some way, such as having an age-related disorder, being in ill health, or possessing diminished mental capacity.
How Is a Conservatorship Established?
In order to establish a conservatorship, a petition must be filed with the appropriate court. A judge will review the petition and any evidence provided. The judge will then make a ruling about whether or not the conservatorship should be established. A court investigator will continue to monitor the conservatee’s situation, even after establishment of the conservatorship due to changing circumstances in an individual’s life . There are also different types of conservatorships, including probate and what is called Lanterman-Petris-Short conservatorships. The latter is used to care for adults with serious mental health illnesses who need unique care.
How Is a Conservatorship Ended?
A conservator has a duty to act as the court has appointed them to until the court issues an order that relieves them of this responsibility. There can be many reasons for this type of order but a few of the most common ones include: the death of the conservatee; the conservator can no longer handle their responsibilities in that role; and the conservatee is no longer in need of the conservatorship.
Why Is a Conservatorship Controversial?
A conservatorship can be controversial because of the contentious nature of the proceedings. If a conservator is appointed for a person’s estate, they have a duty to manage the conservatee’s finances and control their assets. If a conservator is appointed for an individual, the conservator has a duty to make arrangements for that individual’s meals, healthcare, housekeeping, and even recreation, among other things.
Our ability in life to manage our finances and the way we like is something that all of us freely take advantage of. So it can be scary to have that ability taken away, especially at the behest of a court. However, when an individual is not competent in their daily life because of serious health issues, it can be in their best interest that a conservator is appointed.
If you are seeking assistance about a matter concerning a conservatorship, consider hiring an experienced attorney to guide you through the process. The attorneys at Butler, Law PC are well-versed in this area of the law and can assist you today!