What is conservatorship abuse, and how does it happen?

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2022 | Conservatorships

Some California residents are the subject of a conservatorship. Sadly, some conservators overstep their bounds and commit conservatorship abuse.

What is a conservatorship?

A conservatorship is a legal process that gives a person control over the finances and major decisions of someone else. Usually, the person for whom the conservatorship is created is mentally incapacitated or mentally ill and unable to manage their own affairs. The court appoints a conservator who oversees all legal responsibilities on behalf of the person.

What is conservatorship abuse?

Conservatorship abuse occurs when a conservator fails to abide by the law and takes advantage of their position. There are many different ways that this can happen, but it usually results in a person helping themselves to the finances of the person for whom the conservatorship exists.

Common signs of conservatorship abuse include the following:

  • Unpaid bills
  • Bounced checks
  • Unusual or suspicious changes in the person’s estate plan
  • Unusual changes in gifts given on behalf of the conservatee

While many of the signs of conservatorship abuse are financial, some may be physical or emotional. Neglect is another sign that the conservator is taking advantage of their position.

What is an example of conservatorship abuse?

A famous example of conservatorship abuse involved Britney Spears. Her father had control as her conservator after the conservatorship was established during her period of mental illness. Spears’ father abused his power and used the funds from her estate to commit embezzlement. He wouldn’t even allow her to have her IUD removed when she decided to try to have a baby with her significant other. Spears’ pain came to an end in November 2021, when a judge put an end to the conservatorship.

A conservatorship should only be used when absolutely necessary. If a conservator abuses their power, a loved one will have to step up on behalf of the conservatee.