The Insidious Problem of Conservatorship Abuse in the United States

A new documentary entitled Framing Britney Spears has focused attention not only on her specific situation but on conservatorship abuse more broadly. Thanks to this documentary, a spotlight is being focused on what has been a generally obscured and yet insidious problem with conservatorship abuse across the United States.

Case of Brittney Spears

A recent and widely watched documentary calls into question the conservatorship that was put in place some years ago in regard to entertainer Brittney Spears and her assets. He father was named conservator and was given authority to manage Spears’ significant assets.

The conservatorship was put into place by the court at a juncture in Spears’ life in which she was operating under the burden of a mental health condition. As time has gone, those around her as well as medical and psychiatric professionals have made a point of noting that Spears is in a decent state overall when it comes to her physical, mental, and emotional health. The bottom line is that Spears, others around her, and the makers of the documentary mentioned a moment ago, are of a united position that a conservatorship has not been needed in regard to Spears for a rather significant period of time.

Indeed, many individuals have taken this contention a step further and essentially contend that the conservatorship no longer exists for its intended benefit of Brittney Spears. Reference to “holding Brittney hostage” is made with some regularity. This has resulted in a discussion of whether Brittney Spears is the victim of conservatorship abuse.  

True Purpose of a Conservatorship

The esteemed Cornell Law School succinctly defines a conservatorship as:

A legal arrangement that gives an adult the court-ordered authority and responsibility to manage another adult's financial affairs.

A court will order a conservatorship when a demonstration is made that a particular individual is not in a position to adequately address his or her financial needs and objectives in a reasonable manner. While a conservatorship oftentimes becomes a permanent state of affairs, the reality is that this type of continuation is not always necessary or appropriate. One form of conservatorship abuse is keeping a conservatorship in place when it is no longer necessary.

Elder Abuse and Conservatorship Abuse

Younger adults being subjected to a conservatorship is not all that commonplace. What does happen with considerable regularity is the creation of a conservatorship to control and manage the financial affairs of an elderly person. The stark reality is that one of the most commonplace forms of elder abuse in the United States involves misuse, misapplication and downright theft of an older person’s assets by a fiduciary.

A fiduciary is a person vested with legal authority to act in the best interests of an individual. A conservator or a agent named in a power of attorney are two examples of fiduciaries who at times can be found involved in elder abuse as a result of financial misconduct.

In addition to elderly people being kept subject to a conservatorship when it is not necessary, financial elder abuse also comes in the form of a conservator misappropriating or otherwise misusing the assets of the conservatorship. A sad reality is that this type of misconduct is not always readily recognized because an elderly person may have limited contacts with individuals capable to recognizing financial elder abuse in the form of conservatorship abuse when it is occurring.

Legal Rights, Elder Abuse, and Conservatorship Abuse

If you or a loved one fear victimization in the form of elder abuse, including conservatorship abuse, the legal team at The Doan Law Firm is available to you. We are a nationwide firm with offices located from coast to coast across the United States. You can reach our firm 24 hours a day by calling us at (800) 349-0000.

We can arrange an initial consultation with you at any one of our offices, or at another location that is convenient to you. We can also schedule a virtual appointment with you online. There is never a charge for an initial consultation with a Doan Law Firm elder abuse lawyer.

The Doan Law Firm makes an attorney fee guarantee to you. We will never charge an attorney fee unless we win your case for you.

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