While each state handles conservative abuse differently, it’s clear the problem is common nationwide. No comprehensive national records exist for all probate cases across every county, state, and federal court.
But you may have witnessed conservatorship occur with a family member. A close friend could have seen someone they love suffer due to a conservator’s greed and malice.
The conservator may have participated in questionable behavior that appears fine on the surface but below you know isn’t right. Sometimes, video footage and witnesses can catch outright physical or emotional abuse.
Even without complete data, that alone shows you need to prepare to respond. Anyone can go through conservatorship abuse and somebody has to petition the courts to stop injustices against incapacitated people.
In this post we’ll explain conservatorship abuse, provide some examples, and give some insight on how to fight it.
What is a Conservatorship?
A conservatorship is a legal process where a court gives one person some level of control over the life of someone else. The court appoints the conservator, giving them the legal responsibility to look out for the best interests of the conservative.
Depending on the circumstances, the conservator may have decision-making power over their estate and financial affairs, the person and medical decisions, or both. In most states, they must provide annual reports to the court for open accountability.
These court arrangements are different than a power of attorney since the conservatee does not give up their rights willingly: the judge forces them for their protection.
There are a few different types of conservatorship that apply to your loved one according to their level of incapacitation.
For example, the LPS Conservatorship assists individuals with severe mental disabilities that live in a facility or institution. Other conservatorships can help people who are mentally incapable of making their own decisions or get someone back on their feet after an accident.
What is Conservatorship Abuse?
Although judges approve a conservatorship to protect the conservatee, the legal arrangement doesn’t always work out that way.
Financial exploitation, physical abuse, and neglect can all occur in the conservatorship, even though the law requires conservators to look out for the conservatee’s best interests.
Some common signs of conservatorship abuse include sudden unpaid bills, bounced checks, suspicious or sudden changes in wills, estate plans, or financial practices, or the odd disposal of assets.
Each of these scenarios relates to financial abuse. A conservator can also abuse the conservatee emotionally, physically, or through neglect.
What Is an Example of Conservatorship Abuse?
The highly controversial case involving the famous pop star Britney Spears and her father, Jamie Spears, is a chilling example of conservatorship abuse.
Established over a decade ago for mental illness, Britney’s father had full control over her finances and personal decisions. He abused legal authority to embezel money from her estate and restrict her successful music career.
A Los Angeles judge ended the long and grueling conservatorship in November 2021, causing uproars of celebration all over social media.
While this is a recent example that brought national attention to conservatorship abuse, you should keep in mind that every case is unique. They can range from typical elder abuse claims to physical harm and degrading emotional abuse.
How Can I Fight Conservatorship Abuse?
What can you do about conservatorship abuse? That’s probably the question swirling through your mind as you reflect on suspicious activity from a conservator that screams of abuse.
The good news is that you can take action today if a loved one or friend you know is the victim of conservatorship abuse.
Filing a petition to request an official court hearing is the first step. You can request to either terminate the conservatorship outright or appoint a replacement conservator.
Our experienced attorneys empathize with you and your family member or friend during this agonizing time.
Flashbacks of past abuse can stir up sadness and frustration, and we’ve seen it with hundreds of clients. We have the legal background and talent to stop conservatorship abuse, preventing it from happening again.
Schedule a consultation with us today by calling (800).840.1998. You know how to respond now and we’re here to do the rest on your behalf.