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News of Britney Spears’s conservatorship is flooding both newsfeeds and social media feeds alike. Her story also has many people asking, “what is a conservatorship?” Britney’s conservatorship is incredibly unique: there are massive sums of money involved, and Britney seems to be able to take care of herself. Because of this, many people fail to understand exactly what a conservatorship is and when it’s needed. After all, conservatorships are not supposed to be a bad thing; conservatorships are designed to protect the conservatee.

What Is a Conservatorship?

A conservator, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “a person, official, or institution designated to take over and protect the interests of an incompetent.” The conservatee, on the other hand, is the individual whose estate or person is currently being managed by the conservator. In short, a conservatorship is the arrangement between the conservator and conservatee. A conservatorship is different from a guardianship; in a conservatorship, the conservatee is a legal adult. 

What Does It Mean for the Conservatee?

A conservatorship may  look like a family member, or institution, managing the finances and medical care of another adult. When a conservator has conservatorship over an individual’s person, it means they’re able to make medical decisions on behalf of the conservatee. This could mean admitting the conservatee into substance abuse programs, psychiatric care facilities, or assisted living facilities. Again, conservatorships are not always a bad thing; they’re often designed to protect the conservatee.

How Does a Conservatorship Happen?

In order to place someone in a conservatorship, the potential conservatee must be psychologically evaluated and deemed unable to care for themselves. There are many situations in which a person may be placed under a conservatorship. For example, if an elderly person has dementia, and cannot care for themselves or manage their finances, they may be placed in a conservatorship. Similarly, a person who is mentall ill may also be placed in a conservatorship in order to protect them and their interests.

When Does the Conservatorship End?

Conservatorships typically end when the conservatee passes away. However, in some cases, a conservatorship may end when the conservatee is able to manage their being and finances without any outside help. If the conservatee is able to manage themselves, they must file a petition to end the conservatorship. The conservatee is also responsible for proving that they are able to care for themselves. Even if the conservatee can prove that they can care for themselves, a conservator may still contest the petition to end the conservatorship.

What Is Conservatorship Abuse?

Conservatorship abuse occurs when the conservator takes advantage of the conservatorship. This can look like the conservator stealing from the conservatee, physically abusing the conservatee, sexually abusing the conservatee, or emotionally abusing the conservatee. An abusive conservator may restrict the conservatee’s access to family members by limiting visits or phone calls. Conservator abuse may manifest itself in unpaid bills or late payments. If the conservator is physically abusive, the conservatee may have unexplained bruises or injuries.

Do Your Loved Ones Need a Conservatorship?

Conservatorships are specifically created to protect the conservatee. If you have loved ones who need someone to look out for their best interests, it may be worth talking to a family law lawyer. Or, maybe you suspect your loved one is in an abusive conservatorship. At CoilLaw, we are dedicated to helping people by fighting for their best interests. Call us today to find out how we can help you look out for your family.


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