Should Conservatorships be Reformed?

Americans have recently been captivated by the news surrounding Britney Spears and her conservatorship. While a judge recently ruled that her father would no longer be a conservator—a person who is essentially a guardian who makes financial decisions on behalf of another individual—the debate over reform in the system continues. This debate raises important issues about economic self-governance. 

 Those who support reforming conservatorships argue that in their current form it is too easy to abuse the system. They argue that some people may have needed a conservator at one point, but it is too difficult for that individual to regain control over their financial life and personal affairs once they have again proven themselves to be responsible. Additionally, they may argue that in the current system it is too easy for the conservator to abuse their position by being overly controlling of their ward. 

 Those who oppose reforming conservatorships argue that the current form is beneficial to both the conservator and the ward. They contend that there should be a high bar that must be met before an individual can leave a conservatorship. They argue that the individual showed serious signs of irresponsibility or mental illness, and that the conservatorship is beneficial to all people involved. Additionally, they may argue that the current legal system of judges frequently reviewing conservatorships is a sufficient check against abuse. 

 So, what do you think? Should Conservatorships be Reformed? Students can answer Yes, they should; No, they should not; or a nuanced answer in between! Be sure to submit your answers by 10/11 to be considered for this week’s prize. 

Current Standings:
Yes: 53%
No: 47%
  • Alayna from Missouri

    I think it should only be used in extreme cases, because more often than not, adults can take care of themselves and do not want someone making all of their decisions for them.

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    • Emily from North Carolina

      Conservatorships should be more reformed because most people go through rough times in their life and need the assistance of a well-known family member to make decisions for the conservatee when they are not able to handle their own personal or financial affairs.

      Communication plays a huge role in the conservatory agreement. It is important for the conservator and conservatee to communicate in order to sign over the rights of the conservatee to the conservator. Eric Reed explains what conservatorship is in his article he wrote saying, “A conservatorship is a form of legal guardianship of an adult. Under this structure, you, the conservator, have legal authority over certain aspects of the conservatee’s life. This can range from a limited conservatorship, which addresses only specific matters such as health or finances, to a full conservatorship, in which you essentially have the same rights and responsibilities that a parent does over a child.” A conservatorship is where the conservatee is signing over their rights under a court of law to a trustworthy member of their family in order to care for them even when they are not capable of doing so. “A conservatorship is a way for someone to assume legal guardianship over an adult. Families often use conservatorships to help deal with the mounting medical, financial, and mental health needs of a parent. The status of a conservatorship is dependent on the capacity of the individual to make decisions on their own.” (Reed) This explains how conservators are used to deciding whether or not the conservatee is capable of making their own choices in order to proceed with their everyday life.

      Power in the conservator over the conservatee also plays a huge role in this process. Under a court of law, the conservator collects all of the conservatees’ belongings like their bills, medical records, paperwork, investments, and money. Marcia Campbell’s article states, “The conservator may be granted the power to make financial decisions, healthcare choices or both. It all comes down to protecting the conservatee. The conservator is also required to put together an annual report on the conservatee’s progress and present it in court.” This evidence shows that the conservator provides a certain level of structure to the conservatees’ livelihood.

      Conservatorships should be reformed because of the assistance of a well-known family member to make decisions for the conservatee when they are not able to handle their own personal or financial affairs.

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      Conservatorships should be more reformed because most people go through rough times in their life and need the assistance of a well-known family membe…

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  • Gaby from Illinois

    Conservativeships should be reformed because some people truly don’t need to be put in that circumstances and some do. Conservatorships are a type of guardianship that allows licensed conservators or family members to make key decisions on behalf of people who are declared unfit and unable to manage their own finances. Controlling people’s finances and healthcare are examples of this. In the United States, an estimated 1.3 million adults are under guardianship, with little monitoring or statistics. The legal arrangement is most spread among the elderly, but it also affects those with mental illnesses and the homeless. Allegations of abuse are widespread , and have been for decades. In the upcoming year Britney Spears has been a topic of debate for sometime about her conservatorship and if she deserves to be isolated and life taken over by her father. This year on November 12th Los Angeles superior court judge Brenda J. Penny ended Britney’s 13 year conservatorship. This was significant since it shed light on the subject and sparked the interest of many people who had doubts about it. Someone who is seriously mentally ill or unable to care for themselves, in my opinion, should be considered for conservatorship. Some persons who do not need to be subjected to tougher regulations are placed in them in order for the person in charge to gain control, which is an abuse of power on the part of the person in charge. There’s a significantly big difference with someone who is clearly struggling to do basic things daily and another to take over someone’s life and do everything for them if they don’t need it.

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    Conservativeships should be reformed because some people truly don’t need to be put in that circumstances and some do. Conservatorships are a type o…

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  • Mia from Missouri

    I think it should be reformed because it can be easily abusable and makes it too easy for the conservator to be overly controlling of their ward. It is also too hard for some people who had previously needed a conservator to prove that they no longer need one anymore, and can’t easily get out of it. I feel like he conservator has too much power over the ward.

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    I think it should be reformed because it can be easily abusable and makes it too easy for the conservator to be overly controlling of their ward. It i…

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  • MacKenna from Missouri

    yes because for example look at Brittny. She evidently is aware of what is going on and can make choices for herself but because of the conservatorship she can’t. I think it needs to be looked into on how all not just Brittany’s case are being handled.

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    yes because for example look at Brittny. She evidently is aware of what is going on and can make choices for herself but because of the conservatorshi…

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  • claire from Missouri

    i think that people should only be allowed to be in control of peoples money in extreme cases when they cant care for themselfs but a counsaler shuld make that decision if the person that is in control of the money looks like they are abusing there power they should be taken off of it or taken to court

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    i think that people should only be allowed to be in control of peoples money in extreme cases when they cant care for themselfs but a counsaler shuld…

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  • Grace from Tennessee

    Yes, conservatorships should be reformed. It Is evident that there are people who are not mentally, physically or otherwise capable of handling their financial affairs and need assistance in doing so. However, this system was made to benefit those disabled people and none other. As a result, these people should be protected and their rights should be preserved.

    As the Declaration of Independence says, sometimes “it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

    This can also be applied to a conservatorship. When conservators are doing their job and protecting the conservatee’s estate (if that person is incapable of doing so), they should be applauded. However, a conservator can become selfish and may abuse their power over that person. As a result, this person’s liberties are being stripped from them and this is not constitutional, ethical, or American. All conservatorships should be documented and there should be an outside party to assess the conservator’s actions. In this way, a conservator may act more ethically because of a checks and balances type of system, requiring them to be accountable. In addition, there should be a review of whether that conservatee is now mentally/physically capable of handling their own affairs.

    According to the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging, the study shows and that there is a lack of reliable data on the number of active adult conservator cases. Conservatorships are also dealt with by local courts and those courts were “unable to provide reliable counts of the number of cases in which a conservator was removed” for a criminal charged or otherwise (2018). There is an issue when data is irretrievable. This means that data is not valued or that courts are unable to document it properly.

    Forbes indicates that in a review of 20 guardianship cases “conservators or guardians steal from, neglect or physically abuse the people they’re supposed to assist” and that in 2010, “’guardians stole or otherwise obtained $5.4 million in assets from 158 incapacitated victims, many of whom were seniors’”

    Every person, regardless of age, status, disability, race, or otherwise, has the foundational rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. These foundational rights should be secured for those who are not able to secure them on their own.

    Eisenberg, R. (2015). Beware The Con Game Of Conservatorships. Forbes. Retrieved October 11, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2015/05/15/beware-the-con-game-of-conservatorships/?sh=684625eaa89b
    No, B. (2018). Examples Of Conservator Exploitation: An Overview Summary Of Findings. https://www.aging.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/SCA_Boyko_11_28_18_appendix.pdf
    https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript

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    Yes, conservatorships should be reformed. It Is evident that there are people who are not mentally, physically or otherwise capable of handling their …

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  • Cayden from Missouri

    I think yes because most adults now want to make there own choices and decisions and not someone else

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  • Catherine from New York

    Conservatorships should be reformed because their current legal scope, both in terms of the duration and the civil liberties the conservator holds in place of the conservatee, is not defined concretely enough in U.S. law for conservatorships to effectively act as a solution to the problem they were enacted for. Elements of a system don’t have to be reformed if they are always able to consistently serve their purpose and bring order. In the case of a conservatorship, however, the situation of Britney Spears is one example that shows its flaws as she not only has very little control over her finances but also other major aspects of her life (like childbirth) despite being conscious enough to be able to be very active in her career after the conservatorship was established. The repeated difficulties for Spears in getting her father removed as her conservator, along with the documented cases of conservatorship abuse in Iowa mentioned by Josephine Gittler in her opinion piece for the newspaper The Des Moines Register, further prove that the system of conservatorships aren’t consistently functioning well for it to not need reforms and is perhaps doing more harm than good.
    Enacting reforms such as clearly limiting what the conservator can do in the dynamic, making the process of termination more easily accessible to conservatees, and having conservatorships be more periodically and closely reviewed by courts could prevent the process from being abused for personal gain. In other words, reforms will help conservatorships be more beneficial to conservatees (the people that this process should be aiding in the first place) and be strengthened in the legal system.

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    Conservatorships should be reformed because their current legal scope, both in terms of the duration and the civil liberties the conservator holds in …

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  • Samuel from Minnesota

    Many voting no are missing the point of reform — it doesn’t get rid of conservatorships, just reforms them to be more fair and harder to abuse. The fact that they are necessary or helpful to those who need them is not relevant to whether changes need to be made to how they function. As it stands conservatorships are in need of reform; it’s unreasonably to difficult to gain control over your life again and it’s extremely susceptible to abuse by the conservator.

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    Many voting no are missing the point of reform — it doesn’t get rid of conservatorships, just reforms them to be more fair and harder to abuse. The …

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  • Emilie from Missouri

    I believe conservatorships should be reformed so that it is easier for a person to prove that they are more responsible now in order to gain control of their own finances. Right now it is too easy to take advantage of someone. I do believe they can be important and should not be eliminated altogether.

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    I believe conservatorships should be reformed so that it is easier for a person to prove that they are more responsible now in order to gain control o…

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  • Isabel from New York

    When our founding fathers authored the Constitution, they wrote that each American citizen should be granted “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These very rights, the pillars of American democracy and our nation, are violated by the principle of conservatorships. To be controlled, to be regulated, to be “managed,” is to be reduced to something less than human. While conservatorship is often used in extreme causes to ensure the well-being of an individual unable to care for themselves, it is often misdirected and the “conservator” is often exploitative.

    Conservatorship, in theory, should allow American citizens to retain their autonomy and natural rights without being infringed upon. However, the current legal boundaries and constraints placed on those under the care of conservators are restricting and nearly impossible to escape once they have been established. The existence of conservatorship need not end; however, the way the concept is manifested in reality must. Conservatorship is not permanent or forever, and we ought to remember that.

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    When our founding fathers authored the Constitution, they wrote that each American citizen should be granted “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happin…

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  • Johan from North Carolina

    Conservatorship should be reformed. There are two reasons to back this claim. First of all, there are many instances where conservators abuse their powers. Another reason is that conservatorship can be too expensive.
    A conservator is a person that does the financial duties of ones who have disabilities, however, there are a few cases where conservators can abuse their power. One instance is the case with Britney Spears and her father, James Spears, as her conservator. The reason why Britney Spears wants to end her conservatorship is that she feels that “her conservatorship was ‘abusive’ and that she was told she wouldn’t be able to see her children if she didn’t comply with the demands of her father” (Madani and Dasrath). Since her father is able to control her finances, he was able to abuse his power and control Britney Spears’s life. Another example of an abusive conservatorship is the case between Amanda Bynes, a famous Nickelodeon actress, and Lynn Bynes, her mother and conservator. According to the article “5 Celebrities Who Have Had Conservatorships like Britney Spears,” Amanda Bynes claims that her conservatorship was abusive since “she wanted to marry her boyfriend, which she allegedly could not do without her mother’s permission.” What these two instances demonstrate is that conservators can abuse their power and easily control or ruin someone’s life.
    Even though conservatorships are supposed to help finance people with disabilities, conservatorships can be expensive. In California, the cost of an initial petition for conservatorship and investigation fees brings “the total amount of fees to $1,115.00” (Schomer). This price is costly, especially for elders. According to the article “Income of Today’s Older Adults, ” back in 2019, “54.2 million Americans were age 65 and older. Half of all older adults had less than $27,398 in yearly income from all sources.” This means that if someone over the age of 65 is unable to support themselves financially and earns $27,398 yearly, it would take four percent of their annual income to pay fees for conservatorship. The high cost would harm the people that actually need a conservator.
    With all things considered, conservatorship should be reformed because conservators can misuse their power for the wrong reasons and conservatorship are too costly for people who actually need a conservator. Conservators who misuse their powers can ruin someone’s life, such as Britney Spears’s and Amanda Bynes’s conservators ruining their lives respectively. Also, if conservatorship is too expensive, then it would cause problems for people that can’t take care of their finances. There needs to be a change in terms of the amount of power conservators have, and the cost of conservatorship needs to drop down in order to truly help people with disabilities that need assistance with their finances.

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    Conservatorship should be reformed. There are two reasons to back this claim. First of all, there are many instances where conservators abuse their po…

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  • Amanda from Missouri

    There might be a few instances with mental health that it could be needed, but adults deserve the right to have control over their own money. It could be a form of abuse to hold money away from the ward, because they can’t go out and buy what they need. And getting out of the situation is too hard.

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    There might be a few instances with mental health that it could be needed, but adults deserve the right to have control over their own money. It could…

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  • Keller from North Carolina

    Conservatorships have become a long-overlooked loophole in the United States legal system, and with the recent release of Britney Spears from her father’s conservatorship, it is becoming clear that the time for reform is now. Conservatorships need to be looked over as they both make it easy for people to be taken advantage of by their closest friends or family and they are very difficult for people to get out of if or when they recover.
    According to a Trust&Will staff writer, “a Conservator would handle financial and personal daily life-matters that need attention when and if you become incapacitated.” These guidelines are extremely loose in turn with having very strict consequences for those under a conservatorship. To take advantage of someone by gaining power over their lives all a person needs is to prove the other is “deprived of their strength and power,” (Trust&Will). With rules this simple it is no surprise that nearly 1.3 billion people in the US are under either guardianship or conservatorship according to Morgan Keith of Insider.com. To clean up the system, officials must first work to make it more difficult to earn their power over another person, as there are tons of self-sufficient people who could fit the mold of one who falls under the power of another person. If this is made possible it would not only help citizens escape the over-controlling character in their life, it would then allow for it to be made easier for others to prove that they can be independent.
    The other large problem with Conservatorships is that once you are in one it is insanely difficult to get out. To be granted full control over your life back either the power figure must say the controlled is capable of living their own life, or the controlled files a complaint and a judge grants them freedom. This is where Spears comes in, 13 years ago she was put under her father’s power after multiple public meltdowns that many saw as a slight mental breakdown. Over the decade and change of being in her father’s control she has made millions off of her performances and music, none of which can be used by her alone. This also explicitly shows that Spears must be in pretty stable mental shape as she has sustained her income and fame even though she is controlled by someone else. She has been requesting to end the conservatorship since as early as 2014 but has been denied until now. Each time she and her lawyers cited her father’s drinking problem and the drastic rules he was enforcing over his daughter, who is a world-famous millionaire. This was never enough however and it took her father surrendering for Spears to get her freedom back. If it is this difficult for a worldwide superstar to break a conservatorship, the road for an everyday person must be immensely difficult.
    Conservatorships must be reformed as soon as possible as they take away numerous freedoms that should be much more difficult for a person to have stripped from them. To right these wrongs the flimsy guidelines surrounding both beginning and ending a conservatorship need to be overlooked and resolved.

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    Conservatorships have become a long-overlooked loophole in the United States legal system, and with the recent release of Britney Spears from her fath…

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  • dakota from North Carolina

    Dakota Sorie
    AP Lang/Seminar
    October 7, 2021

    The definition of conservatorship is when a person is appointed as a parental unit or guardian by a judge who helps someone who is incapable and they are there to help manage someone’s financial or even daily lifestyle. These types of scenarios have become more and more abundant in our day and age because of all the young stars, singers, actors, and or very successful young people, having to deal with so much fame, money, and even responsibilities at such a young age. Young people who don’t deal with adult decisions should be given a conservator at one point in their career. However that does mean that they need one for their entire career. They should be allowed to make their own decisions when they are matured and ready for the tasks that come with it.
    Conservatorships should be reformed in its current form. People should be granted Conservatorship if they need it and they should be able to not have a conservator if they wish to handle their own life decisions. They should not have to have a conservator for their entire career when they are capable and willing to make their own decisions. Like in the Brittany Spears case. Her father filed a petition after thirteen years to end their conservatorship together. However Brittany Spears did want to end it and had been trying to for two years. “”The conservatorship has helped Ms. Spears get through a major life crisis, rehabilitate and advance her career, and put her finances and her affairs in order. But recently, things have changed,” the filing said. “Ms. Spears is now outspoken in her frustration with the level of control imposed by a conservatorship, and has pleaded with this Court to ‘let her have her life back.’”(Madani, D., & Dasrath, D.) It had gotten to the point where “.. Brittany said she wouldn’t perform if he was still her conservator.”(Madani, D., & Dasrath, D.) She was eventually granted freedom from her dad and she is now responsible for herself. There have been many more cases reported like hers where conservators have been abusing assets and charging crazy high fees. Conservators should not be able to just mooch off of their clients to make money..

    Works Cited:

    Madani, D., & Dasrath, D. (2021, September 8). Britney Spears’ father files petition to end conservatorship after 13 years at Helm of pop star’s estate. NBCNews.com. Retrieved October 8, 2021, from https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/britney-spears-father-files-petition-end-conservatorship-n1277108.

    Gittler, J. (2021, July 1). Opinion: Britney Spears’ troubling conservatorship isn’t unique. Iowa officials must continue to battle abuses. Des Moines Register. Retrieved October 8, 2021, from https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/iowa-view/2021/07/01/britney-spears-conservatorship-abuse-iowa-needs-further-reforms/7815820002/.

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    Dakota Sorie
    AP Lang/Seminar
    October 7, 2021

    The definition of conservatorship is when a person is appointed as a parental unit or guardian…

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  • Mary Elizabeth from North Carolina

    Conservatorship should be reformed in order to prevent potential abuse of financial power by the conservator while also protecting the rights of the conservatee. According to Josephine Gittler of the Des Moines Register, “conservatorship is a legal arrangement under which a court appoints someone to make financial decisions about the financial affairs of an adult with diminished decision-making.”

    In this process, the court assigns a conservator that will best represent the conservatee. This designated person is responsible for the financial responsibilities of someone who is incapable of doing so himself or herself. While a majority of conservators may be honest and trustworthy, the current conservatorship system can tempt even a well-intentioned, caring family member towards financial corruption. Specifically, in 2010, the Government Accountability Office found that in 20 cases, “guardians stole or otherwise obtained $5.4 million in assets from 158 incapacitated victims” (Eisenberg). In Ohio in 2015, a man named Paul Kormanik, a professional conservator, stole “over $40,000 from four individuals…another victim lacked proper medical care at the end of his life because Mr. Kormanik failed to submit the proper forms for Medicaid” (U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging). Furthermore, it can be argued that the conservator’s fees are excessive, costing the client up to $135 an hour or more (Eisenberg). These specific examples illustrate how easy it is for conservators to take advantage and exploit the conservatee.

    In addition to preventing abuse of power, conservatorship should be reformed also to protect the rights of the conservatee. “But people need to understand that conservatorships should be considered as the most restrictive form of court intervention. They can strip people of their individual rights” (Eisenberg). For example, celebrity Britney Spears has been under conservatorship since 2008, at age 26. Her father, Jamie Spears, is her conservator. Britney appealed to the court, asking them to end the conservatorship, saying it was abusive. The judge denied the appeal at first, but after 13 years, at the age of 39, she is finally free of conservatorship. It can be argued that Britney is certainly capable of making decisions and acting on her own behalf. She is in no way physically or mentally challenged. Another way conservatees can lose their rights is if they are diagnosed with a mental health illness, such as bipolar disorder. Prior to adequate treatment, it would be appropriate for this person to be under conservatorship. However, once adequately treated and under the care of a physician, he or she should be able to function independently. Under the current system, it would be difficult to regain these rights.

    Conservatorship, in theory, is beneficial and necessary to help those who are mentally or physically impaired. However, in practice, conservatorship tempts towards financial corruption and the suppressing of the conservatee’s rights. Reform is necessary to keep the conservator’s power in check, prevent financial abuse, and maintain the conservatee’s rights.

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    Conservatorship should be reformed in order to prevent potential abuse of financial power by the conservator while also protecting the rights of the c…

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  • Helen from North Carolina

    A conservatorship is a legal role in which a person has responsibility for another incapable person’s financial decisions. Courts determine whether or not a person needs a conservator, and if so, who that conservator should be. Often, people who need someone to make their financial decisions are incapable due to mental disorders, medical issues, or other circumstances that may leave them incapacitated in some way. Sometimes, a court will assign a family member as the conservator. Other times, it will assign someone who is not related to the conservatee. Recently, #FreeBritney has been a big thing in the news. #FreeBritney is a movement that supports singer Britney Spears in her efforts to eliminate her conservatorship. She frequently stated that her father (who was her conservator) abused his position. It took many years for her to achieve “freedom” because the laws surrounding conservatorship are not properly enforced or helpful. These laws need to change in order for conservatorships to be safer for conservatees.
    Although conservators’ job is to help people who are unable to make certain decisions, they are in a position of too much power where they can take advantage of their conservatee. Conservatees often have mental disorders or issues where they may not be aware when someone is using their assets without their knowledge. This is not to say that all conservators are guided by their own self-interest, however, according to a Forbes article, “conservators or guardians steal from, neglect or physically abuse the people they’re supposed to assist.” The article goes on to cite a 2010 study where the Government Accountability Office found that in 20 cases “guardians stole or otherwise obtained $5.4 million in assets from incapacitated victims”. Even though there are laws that require conservators to periodically check in with courts, the courts cannot effectively regulate conservators enough to ensure the well-being of conservatees.
    Another issue with conservatorships is that conservatees who regain their self-sufficient state have to jump through a lot of hoops to get out of their conservatorship. In the case of Britney Spears, her conservatorship lasted 13 years, much longer than it took for her to recover from the situation that led to the conservatorship. She spent years trying to remove her father from his position. Conservatorships can be ended when “the conservatee no longer needs this level of assistance” (NOLO). It is harder for people to eliminate their conservatorship because they may not be considered as seriously due to their past need for a conservator.
    Ultimately, there is a desperate need for reforms to conservatorship laws. Currently, these laws do not provide enough safety for conservatees. They do not allow reasonable requests for conservatorship termination to go through. In order to actually help people who need conservatorships, these laws need to change.
    Eisenberg, Richard. “Beware the Con Game of Conservatorships.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 15 May 2015, https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2015/05/15/beware-the-con-game-of-conservatorships/?sh=6ffed1f9a89b.
    Nolo. “Conservatorships and Adult Guardianships.” http://Www.nolo.com, Nolo, 17 Aug. 2016, https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/conservatorships-adult-guardianships-30063.html.

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    A conservatorship is a legal role in which a person has responsibility for another incapable person’s financial decisions. Courts determine whether …

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  • Brielle from North Carolina

    Conservatorships are arrangements made by the government to have someone look after and care for the financial affairs of someone who is mentally or physically disabled. Over the past couple of weeks, conservatorship abuse has become a major issue throughout the media. This is due to the recent emergence of how conservatorship has affected and exploited Britney Spears throughout her adult life. Thirteen years ago, Britney Spears was mentally struggling. So, in an effort to make life easier, the court put her into a conservatorship and appointed her father as her conservator. Although it helped her at the time, she eventually got to the place where she was able to sustain a very good living. She was selling out concerts, writing songs and albums, and making millions. However, she was not allowed to leave her abusive conservatorship. Recently, she has taken this issue publicly, battling with the court for her freedom. Conservatorship has put her in a terrible position, affecting every aspect of her life. So do I believe that we should reform conservatorship, the law that put her in this position? Yes I do. I believe conservatorship should be reformed because the system can too easily be abused and corrupted and there are too many conflicts of interests.

    Firstly, conservatorships can be too easily corruptible and abused. This has been the main issue for Spear’s case. Because the conservatorship holds all of the power and is responsible for all of the money in the conservatee’s life, they can bribe doctors and lawyers to say and do what they want them to. In Spears’s case, the conservatorship claimed that she was not in the mental capacity to make decisions for herself. However, they also claimed that she needed to produce two albums and a world tour. How is it that a person who can’t make decisions for themselves can work 10 hour days and host an international world tour?

    Furthermore, there are too many conflicts of interests in conservatorships. The assigned attorney for the conservatee is supposed to act on their behalf. However, many times they are paid by the conservatorship. So where do their loyalties truly lie? In their client or in their paycheck? For Britney Spears, her first attorney’s loyalty lied in the conservatorship. Since 2008, Britney has been battling the court for freedom but nothing has been achieved. However, in that time, Mr. Ingham, Spear’s attorney, has been paid nearly $3 million. She questioned if Mr. Ingham’s “advocacy was on her behalf”, but the court didn’t know how to end the arrangement. Britney said, “I didn’t know I could petition the conservatorship to be ended. I’m sorry for my ignorance, but I honestly didn’t know that.” Her attorney told her that she should not speak about the case, and instead keep it to herself. (Coscarelli) She was able to finally find a new attorney, and through her new attorney she was able to end her conservatorship.

    Coscarelli, Joe, et al. “Britney Spears’s Lawyer Asks to Step down from Court-Appointed Role.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 July 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/06/arts/music/britney-spears-lawyer-conservatorship.html.
    Carr, Erin Lee, director. Britney vs. Spears, Erin Lee Carr, Sept. 2021, Accessed Oct. 2021.

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  • Kinsley Tate from North Carolina

    In light of the recent publicity of Britney Spears’ conservatorship, the system has become widely debated. Some people claim that conservatorships are helpful to all parties involved and do not need their checks on power to be changed, while others argue the oppressiveness of the relationships and the need for reforms in how they operate. The Spears scandal has shed light on this system, proving that it needs reform because there are few checks on the conservator and abuse often occurs in these relationships.
    Conservators are given too much power with few checks in conservatorships since they have unlimited control over another person’s funds, but they often have little background in finance management. In a petition to be freed from her conservatorship, Britney Spears pointed out that her father handled her money inappropriately and unfairly, a situation which Spears could do little to change (Madani and Dasrath). Further, just over 20% of conservators in the US have a level of education below a bachelor’s degree, which is the average education level of a financial manager (Zippia). As a result, the quality of finance management from a conservatorship is often much less beneficial than entrusting funds to someone who is capable of handling the money. Since many cases exist in which conservators successfully help the conservatee manage finances, conservatorships as a whole do not need to be stopped, but reformed instead.
    Conservatorship abuse is defined as a relationship in which conservators unfairly take advantage of or exploit the conservatee, and is often overlooked (Ritchey). Cases of conservatorship abuse rose by almost 40% from 1995 to 2005, a statistic which continues to worsen (Heisz). The greatest disadvantage to these high levels of financial abuse are that conservatorships are considerably difficult to end, especially considering the ease at which they are made. The terminating process that already exists needs to be simplified and made more accessible, so that members of the agreement do not have to go through a trial, simply just a hearing or some type of objective evaluation of one’s state of mind. While some argue that cases of abuse are reviewed in courts, this is not a proper excuse to make up for those left under influence of their conservator, who have no control over their lives because of an abusive conservatorship.
    Even though some may argue that conservatorships are only a topic of debate because of their presence in Spears’ life, this does not necessarily render the argument invalid; it merely shows that the situation has shined a light on a reform-needing system. Overall, the topic of conservatorships is not a debate over “economic self-governance,” as the Bill of Rights Institute suggests, but instead an issue of protection against abuses. Despite this, conservatorships as a whole should not be taken away because they do offer necessary services in helping those that are unable to handle their finances. Conservatorships simply need to be reformed to put more limits on the power of the conservator and install more barriers to prevent abuse in conservatorships.

    Works Cited

    “Conservator Demographics and Statistics in the US.” Conservator Demographics and Statistics [2021]: Number Of Conservators In The US, 9 Sept. 2021, https://www.zippia.com/conservator-jobs/demographics/.

    Heisz, Kenneth. “Beware of the Con in Conservatorships: A Perfect Storm for Financial Elder Abuse in California.” Beware of the Con in Conservatorships: A Perfect Storm for Financial Elder Abuse in Californ, NAELA News and Journal, https://www.naela.org/NewsJournalOnline/OnlineJournalArticles/OnlineMarch2021/Conservatorships.aspx?subid=1191.

    Madani, Doha, and Diana Dasrath. “Britney Spears’ Father Files Petition to End Conservatorship after 13 Years at Helm of Pop Star’s Estate.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 8 Sept. 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/britney-spears-father-files-petition-end-conservatorship-n1277108.

    Ritchey, Peck. “What Is Conservatorship Abuse?” Peck Ritchey, LLC Attorneys at Law, https://www.peckbloom.com/articles/what-is-conservatorship-abuse.html.

    “Should Conservatorships Be Reformed?” Think the Vote, Bill of Rights Institute, 6 Oct. 2021, https://www.thinkthevote.com/join-the-debate/should-conservatorships-be-reformed/.

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  • Averi from North Carolina

    Conservatorships are very important and necessary in order to help some people make responsible decisions with their finances, however, the system does have some flaws and should be changed in some ways. Conservatorships can take away people’s rights and they can be very hard to get out of.
    Conservatorships can take away people’s rights. Data from the Justice Dept from 2017 shows that there are about 1.3 million active guardianship or conservatorship cases in the US, with about $50 billion in conservatee assets. For example, Brittany Spears has been under conservatorship since 2008 and was put under it due to mental illness. This has put restrictions on parts of her life such as having a family and children. “ I deserve to have the same rights as anybody does by having a child, a family, any of those things.” (spears). Conservatorships can cause people to actually lose money and they make it easy for other people to take advantage of your money. In 2018 alone, Britney paid $1.1 million in legal and conservator fees, with about $128,000 going to her dad for his role as a conservator. (Mcallen and Ramdeen)
    Conservatorships can also be very difficult to get out of, they are normally put in place to last for forever or until the person can prove that they do not need it anymore. Spears has been hinting that she wanted to get out of her conservatorship since 2014 and has tried to end it twice in the past two years, but her attempts have failed. “And while guardianships should ideally be set up for a specific length of time, that’s often not what happens.”(Salzman). If a conservator is ever removed it’s normally because they did something wrong, the conservatee can not remove them just because they want to.
    Conservatorships are a good thing and should be allowed in some cases, but this needs to be done in a way without taking away people’s rights. The conservatee should have more say in their personal life and should not be forced to be controlled by someone else.

    Madani, D., & Dasrath, D. (2021, September 08). Britney Spears’ father files a petition to end conservatorship after 13 years at Helm of pop star’s estate. Retrieved October 08, 2021, from https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/britney-spears-father-files-petition-end-conservatorship-n1277108
    Reed, E. (2021, July 01). What is a conservatorship, and how does it work? Retrieved October 08, 2021, from https://smartasset.com/financial-advisor/what-is-conservatorship
    Wamsley, L. (2021, June 24). Britney Spears is under conservatorship. here’s how that’s supposed to work. Retrieved October 08, 2021, from https://www.npr.org/2021/06/24/1009726455/britney-spears-conservatorship-how-thats-supposed-to-work
    What is a conservatorship & conservator [updated 2021]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 08, 2021, from https://trustandwill.com/learn/what-is-conservatorship
    What is a conservatorship & conservator [updated 2021]. (n.d.). Retrieved October 08, 2021, from https://trustandwill.com/learn/what-is-conservatorship

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  • Cecelia from North Carolina

    Within the media recently, conservatorship has been a hot topic for the public. Conservatorship is when another person takes over all your personal belongings including property and finances. They essentially become your guardian and make most of the decisions regarding your life. Constant back and forth has been debated on whether or not conservatorships should be reformed. To me, conservatorship is very tricky because of how many different situations people can be in. However, I feel that while conservatorship can be helpful in some circumstances, someone having all of their belongings taken away from them should be reformed. Along with conservatorships needing to be reformed, other solutions for individuals that need help with their affairs could be used that are safer and more effective.
    The instance with Britney Spears that is so popular right now is a prime example of how conservatorship can be used for the wrong reasons. During her conservatorship Britney Spears finances were placed in the hands of her father, Jamie Spears. In an article written by Doha Madani and Diana Dasrath for NBC, it was said that “Jamie Spears wasn’t acting in his daughter’s best interests and indicated that he may have misused her finances.” This showed that in her case, Britney was a victim and her father was using conservatorship for his own benefit. In the same article, it was said that Britney herself stated, “her conservatorship was “abusive” and that she was told she wouldn’t be able to see her children if she didn’t comply with the demands of her father or management.” In this statement it is clear this conservatorship was something that Britney did not want anymore and wanted to get out of. Unfortunately, the way that conservatorships work, Britney had no say on when her fathers guardianship over her would end, all she could do was appeal to the courts.
    Although conservatorships are not the ideal way to solve guardianship, people in need of help with their affairs deserve a solution. One way to solve this would be to use the power of attorney. As stated in an article from the North Carolina Judicial Branch, “Under a power of attorney, an individual decides who will assist him or her with important decisions and the management of his or her own affairs and delegates that authority in a written document(s) without a court proceeding.” This understanding of the power of attorney conveys the fact that the indivisual that needs help or management would have more right to choose who is in charge of all of their belongings. Another alternative is using representative payeeship. representative payeeship is when “Federal agencies can authorize a person or institution to receive a check on behalf of an adult who has a disability … use it to pay for the adult’s needs.” This idea also has many advantages including that the person in need would have resources for them to be cared for. It would also limit those resources to once a month so that an irresponsible payee could not abuse the money.

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  • Anna from North Carolina

    Conservatorship and guardianship are two words that are often used interchangeably in our society, conservatorship referring to a person who controls the finances of another person who is incapable of doing it themselves, and guardianship is a person who takes care of the health and personal decisions of another who is unable to do so. The past few weeks, there’s been a huge increase in support for the reform of laws regarding conservatorship since the Free Britney movement started. That movement and unsettling story may be the spark that is needed in order to do something about the injustices surrounding conservatorship. Conservatorships should be reformed because there is a lot of room for abuse among conservatorships and it is very difficult to monitor those in a conservatorship.
    Because it can be so easy for a person to abuse their position as a conservator, there should be rules set in place limiting the power of the conservator and therefore allowing the “wards” to have a little more freedom. In an article from Forbes written by Chris Farrell, he quotes a study that states, “The nation’s guardianship system, a crucial last line of protection for the ailing elderly, is failing many of those it is designed to protect, … found a dangerously burdened and troubled system that regularly puts elderly lives in the hands of others with little or no evidence of necessity, then fails to guard against abuse, theft and neglect.” This study demonstrates just how relevant the problem of conservators misusing the conservatees’ money is. An article from Nolo.com mentions the fact that “Many cases of incompetence or mistreatment go unnoticed.” Because there’s no way of keeping up with the abuse, the conservatee’s rights are being infringed upon, but there’s nothing they can do about it since they are legally tied to that person.
    Another reason conservatorships should be reformed is that it’s hard to monitor and keep track of all the different conservatorships. “”Abusive conservatorships can be an unending nightmare, and tragically we don’t know how many people are being held captive against their will under the broken guardianship system,” said Crist in a statement. “We do know, however, that we need federal safeguards to protect persons under guardianship from abuse and exploitation.”” (Forbes) The way conservatorships are being dealt with now, there’s no way of knowing if a conservator is being abusive towards their conservatee and their resources or not. This potentially puts hundreds of people in danger of being affected by misuse and abuse of their finances, health and personal decisions by their conservator. “Although each state has rules and procedures designed to prevent such abuses, few have the resources to keep an eye on conservators and follow through if they spot trouble.” (Nolo.com) While many state governments are working towards ensuring the safety of all conservatees, there isn’t much more they can do without enacting a reform towards conservatorship.

    Avenue, Next. “How to Fix Conservatorship in America.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 6 Aug. 2021, http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2021/08/06/how-to-fix-conservatorship-in-america/?sh=501abd50380e.
    Nolo. “Conservatorships and Adult Guardianships.” http://Www.nolo.com, Nolo, 17 Aug. 2016, http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/conservatorships-adult-guardianships-30063.html.

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  • Hannah from North Carolina

    Conservatorships should be reformed. The pop singer, Britney Spears, recently escaped an abusive conservatorship that lasted for 13 years. Britney fought harder than she should have because of this ineffective conservatorship system. Modern Conservatives should be reformed because they are abusive towards the conservatee and are being put in place for longer than necessary.
    The conservatorship system currently being used is abusive towards those it was initially created to protect. Britney Spears reported numerous instances of mistreatment by her conservator, James Spears, Britney’s father. This includes profiting off of Britney’s career, emotional harm, and not allowing Britney to terminate the conservatorship. “The dual role of looking out for Ms. Spears’s best interests as conservator and reaping more profits each time she performed was “fraught with conflict,” according to W. Michael Hensley, a probate lawyer in California who works as a fee examination expert and is not involved in the Spears case.” (Day, 2021). What James Spears did was wrong and shows how he took advantage of her for his own profit. Also, all of the expenses from the conservatorship battle in court James requested Britany to cover; this is roughly $2 million dollars. (Betancourt, 2021) She was quoted in a New York Times report saying, “I just want my life back. It’s been 13 years and it’s enough. I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry. It’s insane.” (Deole, 2021). Britney is clearly expressing much discomfort in this conservatorship.
    The conservatorship system being used as of now is being implemented for longer than needed. When it is obvious the system is no longer needed, it shouldn’t be such a grueling process to escape. Britney did go through a rough patch in which she made several questionable decisions; such as shaving her head and locking herself in a bathroom with her kids. However, in the 13 years of Britney’s conservatorship, she managed to piece her life back together. There was no reason for her conservatorship to last the length it did. One may make the claim that her judgment wasn’t clear during that time. A New Yorker article says, “Since the establishment of Spears’s conservatorship, she has released four albums, headlined a global tour that grossed a hundred and thirty-one million dollars, and performed for four years in a hit Las Vegas residency. Yet her conservators, who include her father, Jamie Spears, have controlled her spending, communications, and personal decisions.” (Tolentino, 2021). Even through all the distress faced, Britney was able to accomplish all of these milestones. She attempted to turn her life around and shouldn’t have been kept in conservatorship for the time she did.
    I think that conservatorships should continue, but they just need a lot of work to improve. Those in a conservatorship should be given the same rights as anyone else, free of abuse. Conservatorships also shouldn’t be carried on longer than necessary. Another piece to consider is who the Conservator is and what relationship they have to the Conservatee.

    Sources:
    Betancourt Associate Editor Bianca Betancourt is an Associate Editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com where she covers celebrity news, B. (2021, September 30). Britney Spears’s father has been removed as the conservator of her estate. Harper’s BAZAAR. Retrieved October 8, 2021, from https://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/a34113034/why-longtime-britney-spears-fans-are-demanding-to-freebritney/.

    Day, L., Stark, S., & Coscarelli, J. (2021, June 22). Britney Spears quietly pushed for years to end her conservatorship. The New York Times. Retrieved October 8, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/22/arts/music/britney-spears-conservatorship.html.

    Deol, T., Lt Gen H S Panag (retd) -, -, G. T., & -, T. D. (2021, June 24). ‘I’m so angry. it’s insane’: Britney Spears’ emotional outburst in court on Dad’s Guardianship. ThePrint. Retrieved October 8, 2021, from https://theprint.in/world/im-so-angry-its-insane-britney-spears-emotional-outburst-in-court-on-dads-guardianship/683601/.

    Tolentino, R. F. and J. (2021, July 3). Britney Spears’s conservatorship nightmare. The New Yorker. Retrieved October 8, 2021, from https://www.newyorker.com/news/american-chronicles/britney-spears-conservatorship-nightmare.

    What is a conservatorship & conservator [updated 2021]. Trust & Will. (2021). Retrieved October 8, 2021, from https://trustandwill.com/learn/what-is-conservatorship.

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  • Peyton from North Carolina

    Everyone in their life reaches rough patches, maybe even enough to sign over their decision making skills, but most people also do overcome these patches. Conservatorships should be reformed due to the lack of processing for the conservator which leads to the abuses by the conservator to the conservatee.
    The process to become a conservator is so minimal, that backgrounds and pasts can be highly overlooked. When examining the case of Britney Spears’ conservatorship with her father we can see that he technically did not have the right qualifications to be managing a million dollar bank account. In a New York Post article, they report on Britney’s lawyer mentioning, “in stark contrast to Mr. Spears, a reported alcoholic and gambling addict, with zero financial background or experience in financial matters, who previously filed for bankruptcy and has a domestic violence restraining order currently in effect against him.” (Crane). This goes to prove that a man with an irresponsible, and inconsistent past himself should not have been able to oversee the financial and mental decisions of another human being in the first place. When examining the conservator process it is found that the type of conservatorship is chosen, a petition is filed, an attorney is appointed, the conservatee is examined, and then a hearing is held (Trust & Will). Throughout this whole process there is never any mention of background checks or examining of the conservator, just the examination of the mental state of the conservatee. Without any examination of the conservator, the intentions and ability is never questioned which can lead to obvious abuses.
    Conservatorships without reform lead to abuses to the conservatee. In the case of Britney Spears the audience is informed of the many abuses made by her father (the conservator), but this is present in most conservatorship cases. Britney’s father showed abuses through financial means, NBC mentions Britineys father showed “blatant attempt to barter suspension and removal in exchange for approximately $2 million in payments, on top of the millions already reaped from Ms. Spears’s estate by Mr. Spears and his associates” (Madani and Dasrath). Without checks and balances to limit conservator control, instances such as this become more common. But in other cases such as Chandra Bozelko, where she was placed under conservatorship without being informed. Evidence of this is found when, “According to Bozelko, her parents placed her under a conservatorship without any formal notice or hearing. Instead, her parents had a doctor write a report of incapacity — a doctor that she had never met.” (Hicks). This exemplifies abusiveness as Bozelko was in the right state of mind but yet she was unwilling “trapped”. Abusive power correlates with the lack of requirements needed to become a conservator as intentions and backgrounds are never questioned.
    Though conservatorships can be useful to the mentally ill, elderly, and disabled there still needs to be a line drawn where conservators need to be reformed. Without reformed conservatorships we see people such as Britney Spears losing half of her life to the abuse of her father. Nobody needs to live under the abuses of other people, mentally able or not.

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  • Riley from North Carolina

    With the recent media explosion covering the long awaited end of the “Free Brittney” campaign, conservatorships have been placed under public scrutiny. Actions need to be taken to reform these, due to the extreme nature of the relationship, and the ease at which a conservatorship can be abused, both of which place the ward in a possibly dangerous environment.
    Conservatorships are seen as a last resort. Should an individual no longer be able to care for themselves, another can step in. In terms of mentally ill conservatorships, law requires that the individual be “gravely disabled meaning that, as a result of a mental disorder, the person is unable to provide for food, clothing or shelter.” (Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health). Unfortunately, as seen in Brittney Spears’ case, a person who is fully capable of caring for themselves can be placed under conservatorship, and kept there. In Spears’ case, she was deemed unfit to manage her life by herself after a breakdown. If one breakdown is all it takes, then the conservatorship guidelines as to what is “gravely disabled” (Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health) need to be re-evaluated. If the guidelines are changed, and conservatorships are only used in extreme cases, people who are going through mental distress that is reflected in how they are treating themselves can get the help they need to work on themselves, instead of being deprived of autonomy.
    When a conservatorship is established, a person is given power over another. They have access to all documents and information, and in managing finances they can receive bank details. A family member is usually appointed to prevent abusing the position, but, as in the case of Brittney Spears’ father, who was her conservator, it does not always work out well. Spears’ father took over her life and, even though Spears continued to perform and petition the court to remove him, would not relinquish his position. Additionally when an outside hire is introduced as conservator, it is easy for them to take advantage of the ward without anyone noticing. Gittler, from the Des Moines register, describes how “there have been documented cases of serious conservatorship abuse involving conservators misappropriating and misusing the assets of persons under conservatorship and involving conservators charging excessive and unjustifiable fees.”. No matter if the Conservator is family or not, they can get greedy or let the leverage they have over the ward go to their heads. Until the guidelines that allow these kinds of situations are reformed, conservatorships will not be a safe, healthy solution.

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  • Reagan from North Carolina

    Britney Spears is an iconic American celebrity, who has been under a conservatorship for the past 13 years, is now finally being released from the supervision of her father. This ongoing court case has sparked conversations over conservatorships, and has brought light to the issues that come with them. Conservatorships consist of having someone else in control of another person’s finances or any other personal matters. They are typically used when a person is not fit enough or unable to make their own decisions wisely. While conservatorships may serve as a protective measure to ensure a person’s safety, they can actually do more harm than good. Conservatorships present two tricky consequences, those being potential for abuse and a person having individual rights stripped away.
    Conservators have the right to access a person’s finances, and they may also make decisions for those finances and any other legal affairs. With this being said, it makes it easier for a conservator to control their person and abuse the power they have over a person’s life. A study conducted in 2010 by the Government Accountability Office found that, “…GAO identified hundreds of allegations of physical abuse, neglect and financial exploitation by guardians in 45 states and the District of Columbia… Guardians stole or otherwise obtained $5.4 million in assets from 158 incapacitated victims…” (Young) This evidence proves how often people who are in conservatorships are abused or are used by their conservators. It shows how there is a possibility of conservators exploiting the powers that they have. Conservatorship abuse often comes in the form of neglect. Head of Legal at Trust & Will, Patrick Hicks, noticed that the common signs of conservatorship abuse are bills not paid, changes in gifting behavior, changes in estate plans, and bounced checks. (Hicks) These signs display that conservatorship abuse can start in minor ways and evolve from there. Conservatorship abuse does not have to be purely physical, but can occur through conservators neglecting the person that they promised to oversee. Both of these pieces of evidence further show how abuse can occur in conservatorships, and that it is a serious problem that comes with them.
    Conservatorships can also strip away a person’s individual rights, beyond financial decisions. In an article written by Naomi Cahn, a professor of law at the University of Virginia, she noted that conservators often had broad powers. She added that while typically only financial rights are taken away, “… the person subject to one may lose the right to marry, make a will, vote or consent to medical treatment.” (Cahn) These are some examples of the rights a person can lose due to a conservatorship. Their conservator may use these powers, and a person’s lack of rights, to meet their own best interests rather than their clients best interest. A person under a conservatorship is unable to have a say in their own personal life due to these restraints. This adds to the point that a person’s individual rights are taken from them, in a conservatorship.
    Conservatorships can serve an important role and can be a good thing for some people. However, it is important that the conservators are kept in check and that the laws are adjusted so people under conservatorships are not abused, or stripped completely of their individual rights.

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  • Ava from North Carolina

    Conservatorships should be reformed due to the lack of amendments that haven’t been created or passed to ensure that the person who is under the conservatorship is being treated properly. Whether it’s general, limited, or financial conservatorship there needs to be amendments that monitor the actions of conservators. Having access to a person’s financials and control over someone’s everyday life is a responsibility that should be monitored by law.
    Many argue that the courts already frequently review conservatorships and that is sufficient enough. However, realistically a routine “check-up” isn’t actually sufficient enough when someone else’s life is in another’s person’s hands. Especially when that person is suffering from a mental or physical illness and cannot advocate for themselves. In Brittany Spears’ case, she argues that she is suffering abuse from her father because he has a conservatorship over her. According to NBC News, Spear’s states that “her father has ruined her life and had loved to hear her in pain while he exerted his power over her ”. This source also states that Spear’s has described the conservatorship as “abusive”. According to Des Moines “In Iowa, there have been documented cases of serious conservatorship abuse involving conservators misappropriating and misusing the assets of persons under conservatorship and involving conservators charging excessive and unjustifiable fees.” Further proving the point that conservatorships aren’t being properly evaluated. According to The New Yorker, Spears has also described her conservatorship in this light “my loneliness is killing me; I’m a slave for you; I’m not a girl, not yet a woman; you want a piece of me.” I believe that it is important to define and examine the reasons why someone may need a conservatorship in the first place and why they were created.

    As claimed by Trust and Will, “Conservators can be appointed during many life stages, but they make sense particularly if someone is incapacitated due to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, brain injury or stroke, coma, injury or illness, mental challenges, mental illness, etc.” California Courts also define conservatorship as “a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization (called the “conservator”) to care for another adult (called the “conservatee”) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances.” These are all instances where someone can not efficiently take care of themselves in a way that is necessary for basic human survival. This further speaks to the point that conservators need constant monitoring and examining while responsible for another adult’s life.

    Reform doesn’t have to mean that the standards to leave conservatorships should be denigrated but it can mean that the standards for conservators should increase. Although, laws and amendments should be made to protect the person under conservatorship while they are in an extremely vulnerable position. Unbiased third parties should be involved in cases of conservatorship and the courts should make an amendment that people under conservatorship undergo physical and psychological evaluations frequently. This ensures that the person is being treated properly and also can confirm or deny the need for a further conservatorship. The intentions of the conservator should also be frequently evaluated to ensure that financial and overall wellness decisions are being made in favor of the conservatee.

    A conservatorship is there to help vulnerable people who can’t properly take care of themselves; it’s meant to help not hurt. Meaning that the system itself must be constantly reviewed and reformed to ensure the protection of the conservator and fulfill its purpose. This is unable to happen without reform.

    Works Cited
    Tolentino, Ronan Farrow and Jia. “Britney Spears’s Conservatorship Nightmare.” The New Yorker, 3 July 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/american-chronicles/britney-spears-conservatorship-nightmare.
    “Conservatorship.” Conservatorship – seniors_selfhelp, https://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-conservatorship.htm?rdeLocaleAttr=en.
    Gittler, Josephine. “Opinion: Britney Spears’ Troubling Conservatorship Isn’t Unique. Iowa Officials Must Continue to Battle Abuses.” Des Moines Register, Des Moines Register, 1 July 2021, https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/iowa-view/2021/07/01/britney-spears-conservatorship-abuse-iowa-needs-further-reforms/7815820002/.
    Madani, Doha, and Diana Dasrath. “Britney Spears’ Father Files Petition to End Conservatorship after 13 Years at Helm of Pop Star’s Estate.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 8 Sept. 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/britney-spears-father-files-petition-end-conservatorship-n1277108.
    “What Is a Conservatorship & Conservator [Updated 2021].” Trust & Will, https://trustandwill.com/learn/what-is-conservatorship.

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  • Maria from Kentucky

    Yes, conservatorship should be reformed. Conservatorship is completely necessary in some cases. Take Britney Spears’ case for example; whether you think that Britney should currently be under conservatorship or not, it is obvious that in 2007, after the pop star went into debt and had a mental breakdown, she needed help. At least at that time, conservatorship was necessary to stabilize Spears’ bank account and to make sound decisions for her. It was the best decision for her at the time. However, it is very possible for conservatorships to be abused; here the conservatee may lose more rights than necessary, struggle to regain a normal life when more stable, and/or have a conservator who abuses their responsibilities toward the conservatee. Forbes writes “In other cases, Laham says, conservators or guardians steal from, neglect or physically abuse the people they’re supposed to assist.” More laws need to be put in place to protect the conservatee. Annual checkups should be required, where a psychologist or doctor examines the conservatee to decide if they still require conservatorship and look for signs of abuse. Also, “conservatorship accountants” should be required in all cases to protect conservatees from financial abuse. All in all, conservatorships are necessary for society. For the most part, they are good and meant to protect those who need extra guidance. However, more laws need to be passed to keep conservatees safe.

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    Yes, conservatorship should be reformed. Conservatorship is completely necessary in some cases. Take Britney Spears’ case for example; whether you t…

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  • Daniel from North Carolina

    Famous American singer Britney Spears has recently flooded headlines regarding her wish to end her thirteen-year conservatorship. Conservatorships, or when a person is selected by a judge to manage the finances of someone who is not mentally fit to do so for themselves, are not new in the political realm. While, in theory, this appears to be a noble action to take, this is simply not the case in many instances. Furthermore, with the current situation unfolding in the case of Britney Spears, many have called on politicians to change the structure of conservatorships due to the widespread abuse and mistreatment many face while in a conservatorship, as well as the clear lack of proper authorities being put in charge of those in need of a conservatorship.
    While conservatorships aim to help those in need gain a grip on their personal finances and maintain their wellbeing, it is often the conservatorships themselves that ruin these things for the individuals in need. For instance, in 2005, a study on over 2,000 conservatorships was conducted and published by the Los Angeles Times. In this study, horrific instances of neglect, isolation, and larceny were found to be commonplace amongst the conservatorships that were studied (Heisz, 2021). In the case of Spears, she claims that was restricted from seeing her children by her own father for not agreeing to what he wanted and that her father mismanaged her money (Madani and Dasrath, 2021). These instances of abuse are just some of the instances that many point to in their calls for reform, as this abuse directly contradicts the purpose of the conservatorships and often leads to worsened conditions for those in need.
    Another major issue to be addressed is the lack of proper authorities being put in charge of those that are incapacitated. For instance, in an interview with Forbes Magazine, author T.S. Laham states that only around one-fifth of appointed conservators were given clear guidelines on how to take care of the person they were put in charge of (Eisenberg, 2015). In the same 2005 study mentioned earlier, the findings found that many conservators simply lacked vital training and certification at the time of their selection (Heisz, 2021). These findings point to severe faults in the conservatorship process, and these faults will in turn lead to drastic consequences, such as the abuse and mistreatment seen by Spears and many others.
    While conservatorships should ideally help those in need and are unable to make their own decisions regarding wellbeing and finances, this is simply not the case in too many instances. Such as with Britney Spears, abuse and mistreatment, as well as the lack of implementation of proper authorities, hinder the structure of conservatorships and what they aim to do. Political reform in regards to these issues may help combat the consequences of the faults found within the current system set in place. Thus, conservatorship reform should most definitely be implemented.

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  • m from Missouri

    Conservatorship should be reformed because people have the right to live their own lives and make their own decisions unless they are certified special needs with re-evaluations occasionally to ensure that people do not attempt to abuse it.

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    Conservatorship should be reformed because people have the right to live their own lives and make their own decisions unless they are certified specia…

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  • Leigha from Missouri

    Yes, I personally believe that conservatorships should be reformed. Nine times out of ten the person who issued the conservatorship and is the conservator is simply only doing it for the money, and not for the care of the ward. People who are put under a conservatorship lose a lot of their own financial rights. Conservatorships are just an opportunity for people to abuse power.

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    Yes, I personally believe that conservatorships should be reformed. Nine times out of ten the person who issued the conservatorship and is the conserv…

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  • Leah from Kentucky

    Conservatorships are beneficial in certain circumstances but must be reformed to prevent abuses within the conservatorship and allow the ward the power to leave the conservatorship if they are wholely sound to do so. In the past few years, pop star Brittney Spears has spoken out about the abuse of power her father Jamie Spears has put over her as her conservator. As a conservator, Jamie Spears is in charge of Brittney’s finances and medical treatment as she is under an LPS Conservatorship, which cites mental health issues and the inability to manage finances under that mental issue. For 13 years, Brittney has undergone alleged severe manipulation at the hands of her father. She was forced to perform and also manipulated into following her father’s demands to continue her relationship with her kids. Under this management, she is also not allowed to marry or have any other children at her own will. Along with this, she was forced to take birth control to ensure she was not going to have any more children. All of this is classified as conservatorship abuse since she was financially extorted and was under excessive restrictions such as not allowing her to have kids. The worst part is she could not file to leave the conservatorship until in 2021 she officially requested her father be removed from the conservatorship. Jamie Spears is now suspended from her conservatorship. Conservatorships are good in circumstances such as mental illness and old age but when they are too difficult to leave after the person has shown that they are wholly sound is when they become abusive and need reforms. The person under the conservatorship should also have the power to replace their conservator with a public figure that does not have a familial connection. The familial connection opens the door to abuse and extortion just as Spears has experienced. Currently, the ward has to prove abuse or extortion before being able to remove a conservator but this is extremely hard to prove especially if the ward is considered not mentally sound. In July, representatives Charlie Crist and Nancy Mace introduced legislation is to reform the conservator system which it desperately needs. There are four main points that they are reforming. First the right to petition for a public conservator without proof of abuse. Secondly, all conservatorships will be assigned a case worker to monitor for abuse. All financial documents will be disclosed to ensure to conflicts of interest. States would also have to submit annual reports about guardianship and conservatorship.(https://crist.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=2418) Without these reforms, conservatorships remain an open door for abuse by family members not only on the mentally ill but also the elderly. Conservatorships should still be put in place but with reforms and stronger advisement to ensure the protection of the ward.

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  • Andrew from Indiana

    Conservatorship must be reformed because moments of lucidness can be fleeting for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, however, for others with more specific and erratic mental health issues, conservatorships are too powerful. Someone with Bipolar Disorder will have weeks or even months of lucidity between moments of temporary insanity and breakdown. While the conservatorship can be useful during these mental health crises, the time in between can be miserable for the person under the conservatorship. The person in control has full legal, medical, and fiscal power over the person under the conservatorship, and this can be easily abused. Brittney Spears longed to have another child, however, her father and now legal guardian, refused to allow her this, and implanted her with an IUD, an involuntary contraceptive. This is one example of abuse under conservatorship, however the possibilities are limitless.
    There needs to be an escape from this control for those who have psychological forms of temporary insanity, such as BPD, manic depression, and seasonal affective disorder, or premenstrual dissociation. The jury ruling cases of conservatorship must work closely with a certified psychiatrist to establish a fair form of conservatorship, such as an extremely temporary one, that may have an easily accessible method of extension or route to reinstate it, in the cases where the mental health diagnosis may be cyclical. A government assigned psychiatrist could also discuss which more specific powers the conservator may have over the conservatee, for example, fiscal hold on someone with bipolar disorder, or medical control over someone with manic depression, but overall reducing the hold the conservator might have on the subject.
    Conservatorship should be less powerful and more temporary, but easier to renew in certain cases. Psychiatrists should be assigned to cases, and the conservator’s power should be case specific.

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  • Peter from Alabama

    Conservatorships should be reformed. I strongly believe that conservatorships are almost always beneficial to all those involved, because usually they are completely justified and are reviewed and confirmed by judges. However, I believe that there are certain instances of conservatorship that are unacceptable, in that they allow for abuse of power of those that hold the financial rights of another. In the case of Britney Spears and her father, there is an apparent lack of consideration towards the idea that Britney have her full financial rights, and it seems that the situation is an abuse of power by her father, as he has kept her money, financially benefited off of it, and it not allowing her to do many commonplace things that she has every right to do. I believe that there needs to be reform to the way that conservatorships are handled. For instance, I think that there should be a more streamlined way for someone who is already bound to a conservatorship to cancel it. While most who are bound to conservatorships are bound justly, and there are ways to review conservatorships in court, I think there needs to be constant monitoring of the conservator and their decisions regarding the financial matters and allowances of the other person. There needs to be a more open process of review, and there must be more rules put in place to benefit someone who is stuck in an unjust conservatorship.

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    Conservatorships should be reformed. I strongly believe that conservatorships are almost always beneficial to all those involved, because usually they…

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  • gracelyn from Missouri

    i think conservatorship should continue because its still help the people who aren’t responsible and cant take care of there self.

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  • lilly from Missouri

    Misuse of conservatorships appearing in the media recently doesn’t change the fact that they are a necessary method for helping those who are not ready or can’t assume the responsibilities of a full adult. This has the potential to help people who are being abused and have a stable financial life who can go on in life without living with that person who is abusing them.

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    Misuse of conservatorships appearing in the media recently doesn’t change the fact that they are a necessary method for helping those who are not re…

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  • Kemani from Missouri

    I believe conservatorship should not be allowed I believe people should be able to make their own decisions regarding their personal life and financial needs. It’s like with the Britney Spears case where her father had conservatorship over her because she lost her cool with someone. Yes it’s been happening for years but she’s gotten help and she has her life together. There’s a difference between people who need it and people who are forced into it.

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    I believe conservatorship should not be allowed I believe people should be able to make their own decisions regarding their personal life and financia…

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  • Danika from Missouri

    I think we should reform conservatorships. I get that some people may need a conservator when they’re younger or not responsible, but what’s the point in having one when it’s a fight to get your own control back. You shouldn’t have to fight someone for you finances, etc. if you prove you can be responsible. Overall it allows someone way to much power over another, and there are many different ways for people to abuse that power.

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    I think we should reform conservatorships. I get that some people may need a conservator when they’re younger or not responsible, but what’s the point…

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  • Nyrah from Missouri

    I think that conservatorships should not be reformed because they are beneficial to both the conservator and the ward. They basically say that there should be a high bar that must be met before someone can leave a conservatorship. I think that since the person showed serious signs of irresponsibility or mental illness, the conservatorship is beneficial.

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    I think that conservatorships should not be reformed because they are beneficial to both the conservator and the ward. They basically say that there s…

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  • Aubrey from Missouri

    I don’t think that they should be reformed because there are some people who aren’t mentally stable and make bad decisions. Having these can be beneficial to people like that.

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  • Elizabeth from Missouri

    I think no it shouldn’t be reformed because some people can’t fully act like an adult and they are going to need help, but in britney’s case I do think she needs help, even tho that gives away a right but it can help people that need it.

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    I think no it shouldn’t be reformed because some people can’t fully act like an adult and they are going to need help, but in britney’s case I do thin…

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  • Meric from Missouri

    I think that it shouldn’t be completely reformed. Because not everyone can be completely trusted. Like anyone that can’t be responsible for themselves.

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  • Anna from North Carolina

    Conservatorship should not be reformed.

    The definition of conservatorship according to Trust and Will, “is the legal process where a court steps in to appoint someone to be in charge of your finances or other personal affairs if you’re unable to make decisions on your own.” There have been debates and arguments over whether or not conservatorship should or should not be allowed. From the recent experiences Brittany Spears has gone through over the years, I chose to explain why in fact conservatorship shouldn’t in fact be repealed.

    Conservators are legally allowed to be appointed to a person if they are experiencing life issues such as mental diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, being stuck in a coma, and suffering mental challenges or mental illnesses. Around the time of 2008, Brittany Spears was going through some mental issues. Brittany would be experiencing custody issues with Kevin Federline which would eventually lead to a divorce. It was found that Brittany Spears had checked into a mental health institute after suffering from the stress of her dad’s hospitalization after he was having some major health issues. Brittany privately knew she needed help and wanted to reach out to get it before social media went wild. The pressure of social media can definitely have an impact on mental health as well. With all of these crazy mentally challenging things occurring in Brittany’s life, a conservatorship was placed upon Brittany in late 2008. Brittany has been under this conservatorship all the way until she was released from it in June 2021.

    Overall, Brittany Spears has been a part of the #freebrittanymovement trying to gain control over her life again. Brittany was not happy with the restraints put upon her. She felt that the limits on her financials were a form of “abuse.” Now that Brittany is “free” the restraints have pushed her to be able to grab hold of her life again. Who knows if Brittany could have ever gained control of her life? The process of appointing a conservator truly helped her fight and push hard to show the growth of her mental health overall.

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    Conservatorship should not be reformed.

    The definition of conservatorship according to Trust and Will, “is the legal process where a court steps…

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  • Dorsey from North Carolina

    I believe conservatorships should be upheld. I also believe that once a person becomes an adult if they are of sound mind and body, they should be able to take ownership of their affairs. The idea behind these agreements is a sound one. Minors and/or individuals that do not have the maturity or the mental capacity to handle their business and well-being decisions should be able to have someone help them. This hopefully assures a stronger future for them. Once the individual reaches maturity and adulthood I believe that there should be a recourse for them to regain the responsibility for themselves if they have proven to be of sound mind and body.

    In the news lately there has been a case about a musician named Britney Spears. In the Des Moines Register a guest columnist, Josephine Gittler says, “thirteen years ago, a court appointed Britney Spears’ father as her conservator, granting him the power to make decisions for her because of concerns about her mental health.” Today she is fighting to remove her dad from being her conservatory. Spears stated in a speech she gave over the summer that “she was being compelled under the conservatorship to take certain medications and to use an intrauterine device for birth control against her will.” (NPR)

    There are many different types of conservators. General or Financial are the two main conservators that come to mind for me. A general conservator is somebody who “would be appointed in cases where a legal adult is unable to manage personal affairs and finances.” (Trust&Will) In the case that an elder becomes ill or has a major accident, they normally choose a family member to take care of their finances. Being a Financial conservator, “is when the court appoints a Conservator to handle financial affairs for someone incapacitated.” (Trust&Will) In relation to a general conservator, a financial conservator has normally taken over an elder or an adult who is no longer able to continue making legal decisions.

    Although Britney Spears appointed her father to become her conservator while she was having mental issues, I believe that since she is of sound mind and body she should be returned her legal rights. The courts recently ruled against Britney which has brought this law into the spotlight. Even though I do believe that conservatorship should be upheld, maybe the guidelines within this should be looked at closer and maybe even rewritten.

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  • Jackson from North Carolina

    According to California Courts, ”A conservatorship is a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization (called the “conservator”) to care for another adult (called the “conservatee”) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances.” Recently, Britney Spears has finally been released from a conservatorship that she has been in for 13 years. This recent event raises the question, “should conservatorships be reformed?” I believe that conservatives should stay the way they are because they are meant to protect and take care of the conservatee when they are deemed unable to do so themselves.
    “The original reason that Britney Spears was placed under a conservatorship was due to mental health issues following a custody dispute with her ex-husband in February of 2007 (BBC News).” She was placed under her conservatorship to help protect her by putting her father in charge of financial and estate affairs. It is important to have laws such as this to help take care of people to stop them from making bad decisions in times of mental instability. In times of distress and confusion, people can make terrible decisions that can result in life changing consequences which often are for the worse. On a NBC news article written by Doha Madani and Diana Dasrath, Mr. Spears filling says, “If the public knew all the facts of Ms. Spears’ personal life, not only her highs but also her lows, all of the addiction and mental health issues that she has struggled with, and all of the challenges of the Conservatorship, they would praise Mr. Spears for the job he has done, not vilify him.” As a conservator, Mr. Spears did his job, even though it may not be seen as a good one in public opinion.
    Conservatorships are also important for other demographics, such as the elderly. When people grow old and develop alzheimers, dementia, or any other disease that affects the brain; they need help making decisions for themselves. I have a grandma currently living in assisted living, she is there because she has alzheimers and dementia. There have been times when we have gone to see her, and she has not recognized me or my mom. There have also been occasions of her believing her husband who has been dead for 20+ years still being alive. It would be irresponsible for her to be able to make financial decisions when her memory is unreliable and dull. Conservatorships should stay the way they are because they play such an important role in keeping those who are mentally impaired protected.

    “Britney Spears: Singer’s Conservatorship Case Explained.” BBC News, BBC, 29 Sept. 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53494405.
    “Conservatorship.” Conservatorship , California Courts, https://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-conservatorship.htm?rdeLocaleAttr=en.
    Gittler, Josephine. “Opinion: Britney Spears’ Troubling Conservatorship Isn’t Unique. Iowa Officials Must Continue to Battle Abuses.” Des Moines Register, Des Moines Register, 1 July 2021, https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/iowa-view/2021/07/01/britney-spears-conservatorship-abuse-iowa-needs-further-reforms/7815820002/.
    Madani, Doha, and Diana Dasrath. “Britney Spears’ Father Files Petition to End Conservatorship after 13 Years at Helm of Pop Star’s Estate.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 8 Sept. 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/britney-spears-father-files-petition-end-conservatorship-n1277108.
    “What Is a Conservatorship & Conservator [Updated 2021].” Trust & Will, https://trustandwill.com/learn/what-is-conservatorship.

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  • Casey from North Carolina

    The controversy of conservatorship has arisen due to the popularity of the britanny spears case in which her father was conservator and she took legal action to have him removed as the conservator. This incident caused many to believe that the concept of conservatorship should be reformed so that problems like this do not occur. The problem with this claim is that conservatorships generally have a good purpose and are actually beneficial to people such as the elderly and mentally ill. Many also think conservatorships should be reformed so that it is easier for conservatorships to be terminated. However, there is already a well defined legal process to do such a thing. Because of the essentialness of conservatorships in most instances and the fact that people are already able to take legal action to remove conservatorships, I do not think that there should be a reform of conservatorships.

    Conservatorships are often done for the benefit of those the conservatorship is being put in place for. Oftentimes these people are the elderly or mentally ill and do not have the mental capacity or stability to make rational financial decisisons. To prevent these people from making poor decisions with their money, a conservator is put in place who makes financial decisions for the client and makes sure their money is preserved and put to good use. According to the Baldwin county probate office a conservator is “A person who is appointed by the court to manage the property of a minor or incapacitated person”. At the time of the conservatorship Britney Spears did not have a stable mental health and as a reulst a needed conservator was put in place to prevent irrational spending.

    Many make the claim that it is difficult to have a conservatorship removed and because of this, it should be reformed and have a clear indication of how to remove it. There is however already a process put in place to have conservatorships terminated. According to the law office of George Dickerman, “If sufficient proof can be presented to the court to show that the (elder) conservatee is capable of making sound financial and healthcare decisions, then the court must terminate the conservatorship”. A conservatee can also call for a jury trial to determine whether or not their conservatorship should be terminated if they do not think a judge will side with them. Conservatees can also have mental evaluations done by a psychiatrist and if they prove they are mentally able, the psychiatrist can report this to a judge and have the conservatorship removed.

    There have been many great misconceptions about conservatorships and that is partly due to fans’ willingness to side with Britney Spears in her conservatorship case. This has caused much backlash to the concept of conservatorship and as a result conservatorships have been drawn up to be bad things within American law which need reform. Because conservatorships actually hold a beneficial purpose that helps maintain the finances of the mentally incapacitated, as well as the presence of multiple way in which one can have a conservatorship terminated, it is unnecessary to reform an entire legal process due to the backlash of one celebrity case.

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  • Amelia from North Carolina

    The topic of conservatorships is becoming more and more controversial today. A conservatorship is when a person is ruled by the court unable to take care of themselves, their finances, or needs and are given a conservator who will help them take care of those affairs while the person is unable to do so. The main question being asked about conservatorships are should they be reformed? Due to people questioning the intentions of conservators many people say conservatorships should be reformed but reforming conservatorships may actually cause more harm than good. Reform of conservatorships should not be performed due to courts supervising abuse of conservatorship and the high presence of social media in conservatorship.

    Courts will oversee conservatorships causing less need for reform. Generally, when a conservator is given authority to be in charge of the conservatee’s affairs the court supervises the conservatorship to make sure there is no abuse being done to the conservatee or their financial affairs. The Superior Court Department oversees conservatorships for one year after the conservatorship takes place and then every two years (Judicial Council of California). This ultimately limits abuse of the conservatorship from the beginning making it harder to take advantage of the conservatee. Conservatorships are especially hard to abuse when the person under the care of the conservator creates a petition stating abuse. The court must act “if sufficient proof can be presented to the court to show that the conservatee is capable of making sound financial and healthcare decisions, then the court must terminate the conservatorship” (Law office of George F. Dickerman). Due to courts having strong supervision of conservatorships before and after it starts it shows that reform is unnecessary because it will only cause the courts to do more supervision checks which will make the oversee of the conservatorship be less in-depth and cause the courts to be overworked making more room for abuse.

    Social media helps limit the need for reform in conservatorships because it shines a light on abuses performed by conservators. Due to social media’s widespread influence, it plays a very effective role in stopping the mistreatment of conservatees by calling out their abusers and their crimes. Brittany Spears a singer that was under conservatorship used social media to start the “Free Brittany Movement” during this movement her followers helped fight her conservatorship which eventually made it into the courts. Social media has been known to make conservators step down like Jamie Spears ( Brittany Spears father) who after the Free Brittiany Movement stepped down as her conservator due to the widespread knowledge of Brittiany being capable to make her own decisions (Doha Madani, Diana Dasrath). This shows social media pressure on courts to take action as well as causing abusive conservatores to step down making reform less needed in the conservatorship process.

    Overall conservatorships should not be reformed because of the already existing court’s supervision over the conservatorship and the presence of social media which makes it harder to abuse the conservatee.

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  • Abby from North Carolina

    Conservatorships should not be reformed because the primary goal is to protect people who cannot fully care for themselves, financially or mentally, and can help prevent further bad life choices in the future. Although the recent controversy on the Britney Spears conservatorship has left people wondering whether to revoke conservatorships or not, the fact of the matter is that they exist to protect and help people who need them. Reforming conservatorships would leave many vulnerable individuals at risk.
    The main role of a conservatorship is to protect those who are incapable of fulfilling tasks and responsibilities and require assistance. A good example of this would be mentally ill or impaired patients. According to Winderl, “But conservatorships and guardianships exist to protect vulnerable people, and can actually be necessary to give those with progressive, neurological conditions like dementia or even psychosis the help they need.” Someone with a neurological condition like dementia is not going to be able to be responsible for themselves and therefore would need help. That’s what a conservatorship is for. Hicks states, “There are individuals who clearly do not have the ability to take care of themselves, whether it’s due to advanced age, mental impairment, or some other disability. Conservatorship is designed to protect those people in need.” Generally, conservatorships are used for elderly folks and help to maintain their financial and medical needs.
    Conservatorships are also useful for helping people who may have made bad life decisions because of a lack of capable responsibility. For those who are struggling to make life decisions conservatorships can help by taking on the responsibilities of choosing what to do. According to Kerr, “Individuals can seek professional help in preparing for future circumstances that may prevent them from managing their finances and personal affairs.” By having someone there to help manage your finances and such, things can become a lot less stressful and even bring peace to your loved ones who may be concerned. The recent controversy about Britney Spears has put conservatorships in a bad light and not correctly portrayed what the job of a conservatorship is. Of course, conservatorships can be abused just as anything else can be, but by reforming conservatorships the people in need are deprived of finding legal protection and help.

    Citations:
    Winderl, Amy. “The Truth Abou Conservatorships and Guardianships.” http://Www.healthcentral.com, 24 May 2021, https://www.healthcentral.com/author/amy-marturana-winderl.
    Hicks, Patrick. “What Is a Conservatorship, and Why Do We Need It?” Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, 1 July 2021, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/375787.
    Kerr, Emma. “How Conservatorships Can Help or Hurt a Loved One | Family …” Usnews.com, US News, 19 Aug. 2021, https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/family-finance/articles/how-conservatorships-can-help-or-hurt-a-loved-one.

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  • Sarah from North Carolina

    Conservatorship is defined as “the legal process where a court steps in to appoint someone to be in charge of your finances or other personal affairs if you’re unable to make decisions on your own” (Will & Trust). Its purpose is to benefit the Conservatee (the person incapable of making major decisions) by appointing the Conservator (the person making the decisions on the Conservatee’s behalf). The Conservatorship of Britney Spears, which many people are against, is a topic often seen in the news. This gives Conservatorship a bad reputation, but Britney Spears’ situation should not define Conservatorship overall. Conservatorship should not be reformed because although it seems bad in the news, it actually benefits the Conservatee that can’t make valid decisions.
    The Britney Spears case is one of the most trending Conservatorships, so opinions about it are put in the spotlight. People accusing Britney Spears’ father don’t know much about Britney Spears’ life. As fans of celebrities, we think we know so much about them because of how they are presented on social media and the news, but in reality, “‘The public does not know all the facts, and they have no right to know’” (NBC News). Although this is true, many people argue that what happened to Britney Spears in her Conservatorship was cruel and abusive. It is believable that there were some wrongdoings by Jamie Spears, but Conservatorship was necessary given Britney Spears’ mental state at the time. Once Britney Spears regained responsibility, she and her father met with a judge about ending the Conservatorship. According to Trust & Will, Conservatorship ends “if it’s no longer needed”. It can be argued that the Spears’ situation violates this because “[Britney’s] conservatorship has continued to this day despite that fact that she has been able to earn millions of dollars from her performances during the conservatorship” (Des Moines Register). It is clear that there are problems present with Britney Spears’ Conservatorship, but just because her Conservatorship was not going well does not mean that Conservatorship is bad in general.
    Conservatorship is a challenging task, but is necessary to guide someone who is struggling in the right direction. Conservatorship should not be seen as one person controlling another, but rather one person helping the other out in the Conservatee’s best interests. Britney Spears’ father stepping in ended up greatly benefiting her by getting her “through a major life crisis, rehabilitat[ing] and advanc[ing] her career, and put[ing] her finances and her affairs in order.’” (NBC News). Dr. Phil McGraw, who visited Britney Spears in the hospital, saw how much she was in need of help (ABC News). The Conservatorship was in Britney Spears’ best interest since life was overwhelming for her at the time. Conservatorships are meant to maintain respect and to “have [Conservatee’s] wishes considered” (npr.org). This is where the problems arise in how Jamie Spears treats his daughter, but the Conservatorship remains beneficial overall.
    Conservatorships cannot be declared harmful from one person’s story. Britney Spears’ story is controversial and troubling to some people, but that doesn’t mean Conservatorship has to be. There are many people that actually benefit from Conservatorship, which is the purpose of assigning a Conservator. It’s simple: ‘#freebritney’ does not imply Conservatorship failing or needing to be reformed.

    Works Cited:
    Gittler, Josephine. “Opinion: Britney Spears’ Troubling Conservatorship Isn’t Unique. Iowa Officials Must Continue to Battle Abuses.” Des Moines Register, Des Moines Register, 1 July 2021, https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/iowa-view/2021/07/01/britney-spears-conservatorship-abuse-iowa-needs-further-reforms/7815820002/.
    Madani, Doha, and Diana Dasrath. “Britney Spears’ Father Files Petition to End Conservatorship after 13 Years at Helm of Pop Star’s Estate.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 8 Sept. 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/britney-spears-father-files-petition-end-conservatorship-n1277108.
    Wamsley, Laurel. “Britney Spears Is under Conservatorship. Here’s How That’s Supposed to Work.” NPR, NPR, 24 June 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/06/24/1009726455/britney-spears-conservatorship-how-thats-supposed-to-work.
    “What Caused Britney’s Breakdown?” ABC News, ABC News Network, https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/SpecialConcert/story?id=4096951&page=1.
    “What Is a Conservatorship & Conservator [Updated 2021].” Trust & Will, https://trustandwill.com/learn/what-is-conservatorship.

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  • Owen from North Carolina

    I think Everything in the world should have the ability to be reformed and made better in certain ways but I don’t think conservatorship should be reformed like some people are talking about. Conservatorship is when an adult is the financial caretaker and decision maker for another adult that isn’t capable of making their own decisions.
    Brittany Spears has been in the spotlight recently because of her dad being her conservator and taking advantage of her situation by benefiting himself instead of her. This has been making headline news and is calling for major reform but only because of the magnitude of the person involved. In Iowa alone there are 23,000 people in Conservatorship that have diseases like alzhiemers and mental health issues that prevent them from being able to fully function and make proper decisions for themselves. (Gittler) This shows that Conservatorship is important to many people and comes down to picking the right person to make decisions for you. The policies are put in place for everything to work smoothly but there just needs to be a trusted Conservator helping the Conservatee. In 2017 the supreme court made the Iowa Guardianship and Conservatorship Reform task group that is in charge of recommending deficiencies that need to be addressed. (Gittler) This is a great checks and balances system where if anything gets too out of hand then The task group can step in and handle any unjust situations. An upside to Conservatorship is that ability for a neutral party to step into a family disagreement about the Conservatee and do what’s best for the Conservatee instead do what’s best for just one side of the Family. (Family caregiver Alliance).
    In the beginning I did say everything has the ability to be reformed which still includes Conservatorship. One thing that could be changed is the expense of getting a Conservator because it is obtained through the court system which is expensive anyway but this time it’s not just one of the court activities but Conservatorship lasts over time until the Conservatee is able to make decisions again or passes away. (Schomer)
    In all I think Conservatorship comes down to the Conservator that is chosen to make the financial decisions and if that person can be trusted or not. If that person isn’t trustworthy then of course you’re going to be upset and want Conservatorship to be reformed but if you pick the right person then everything will run smoothly and everyone will be happy.

    Gittler, Josephine. “Opinion: Britney Spears’ Troubling Conservatorship Isn’t Unique. Iowa Officials Must Continue to Battle Abuses.” Des Moines Register, Des Moines Register, 1 July 2021, https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/iowa-view/2021/07/01/britney-spears-conservatorship-abuse-iowa-needs-further-reforms/7815820002/.

    Alliance , Family Caregiver. “Conservatorship and Guardianship.” Conservatorship and Guardianship – Family Caregiver Alliance, https://www.caregiver.org/resource/conservatorship-and-guardianship/.

    Madani, Doha, and Diana Dasrath. “Britney Spears’ Father Files Petition to End Conservatorship after 13 Years at Helm of Pop Star’s Estate.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 8 Sept. 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/britney-spears-father-files-petition-end-conservatorship-n1277108.

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  • Emmy from North Carolina

    A conservatorship is the maintenance and decision making in regards to one’s personal finances by another individual. They are assembled due to one’s poor mental state that may lead to that person not being able to make logical decisions. Conservatorships should not be reformed as they benefit both the conservatee and the conservator and they also are organized on a trustworthy level so that an individual in this relationship cannot get harmed.

    Conservatorships benefit both the conservatee and the conservator. This is the case because the conservatee can trust that their conservator is making the right decisions on their behalf and the conservator can now have a peace of mind knowing that they will make responsible decisions about their loved ones finances and accounts. Members of the Soto Law Group addressed this as an advantage of a conservatorship.

    “A conservatorship allows you make decisions for your loved one, and it gives peace of mind to other family members that someone is taking care of their incapacitated loved one,” Matthews said.

    Another benefit that the conservator may seek is making money off of taking care of these personal accounts for their conservatee. According to Zippa, a career expert website, the average conservator salary is $59,816 per year and $28.76 per hour.

    Additionally, conservatorships should not be reformed because they are organized on a trustworthy level so that neither the conservator or the conservatee can get harmed from the situation. This safety of both parties is guaranteed as the conservator can be appointed by the court.

    “As a conservator, you must make decisions on behalf of your conservatee. You are considered a fiduciary, meaning that you have a legal obligation to make decisions in the conservatee’s best interest to the best of your knowledge, belief and ability,” Reed said.

    Another reason that conservatorships are safe is because it is illegal for the conservator to improperly benefit from the conservatee. For example, if the conservatee is moved into an assisted living facility, the conservator cannot move into the now empty home.

    One may argue that conservatorships are dangerous and cannot be trusted if the conservatee does not choose a wise and trustworthy conservator. However, once a conservator is chosen they must make the best decisions they can for their conservatee on order of the court.

    In conclusion, it is important that conservatorships are not reformed because they are needed to help the mentally unstable in a safe and loving manner by a responsible individual.

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  • Amelia from North Carolina

    Conservatorships should not be reformed as its benefits heavily outweigh the harms it brings to society. Although to the public eye the media has made Brittney out to be miserable and stripped of her rights, there are thousands of Americans that depend on conservatorship for survival. According to the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), a nonprofit focused on improving judicial administration, “it estimated in 2016 that there were about 1.3 million adult guardianship or conservatorship cases in the U.S”. Should one mentally unstable, multi millionaire celebrity cost the care of 1.3 million Americans? Simply, no. Conservatorship should not be reformed because it gives care to those who are physically and mentally incapable of caring for themselves and Spears’ conservatorship is for her own well-being.
    Conservatorship gives peace of mind to other family members that someone is taking care of their incapacitated loved one. Eric Reed of Smart Asset says “A conservatorship can ensure that a loved one’s personal finances and healthcare issues are properly handled. This is done only after that person is no longer able to make good decisions about such matters.” Imagine a family member is mentally disabled and you are unable to give them the support they need. You would want to do everything in your power to make sure they have a stable caregiver looking after them. A conservatorship provides the greatest flexibility in being able to manage the fluctuating needs of the subject person, arranging long term care, housing and being able to contract with providers as needed. Spears’ case should not cause reform of this system that works for the majority, only because of what the media has spread for entertainment.
    Spears’ conservatorship should not be labelled as “restrictive” as this court decision was made for her own well-being. First off, Spears’ financial situation has benefited immensely since the beginning of her conservatorship 13 years ago. Eric Reed says “A conservatorship can ensure that a loved one’s personal finances and healthcare issues are properly handled. This is done only after that person is no longer able to make good decisions about such matters.” According to USA Today, “He [Spears’ father] has to file every year an accounting of all of her finances, and though some documents are redacted, they show that under his control her estate has gone up between $28 million and $47 million, which is substantial,” Martin says. “It doesn’t sound like a situation in which she is being taken advantage of.” The article follows by explaining “The conservatorship is not a jail,” said Larry Rudolph, Spears’ longtime manager, in an interview with The Washington Post in May. “It helps Britney make business decisions and manage her life in ways she can’t do on her own right now.” Spears’ career has obviously benefitted under her father’s control of decisions Spears might have not been able to make while facing mental health issues. USA Today explains Spears’ mental health crisis as “Spears’ life started unraveling in 2007 after she and Kevin Federline, father of her sons, filed for divorce and a custody battle ensued. She suffered a mental breakdown that was splayed across tabloid pages: Britney without panties, Britney shaving her head, Britney in and out of hospitals. She also lost custody of her kids.” While in this period of her life Spears was incapable of logically planning her career and was able to function under conservatorship to jump start her career. At this point in her life, the court system does have the ability to determine if Spears is capable of making decisions for herself that are healthy. Their ruling proves they do not believe her independence is safe or will keep her mentally healthy, therefore she should remain under her conservatorship.
    Conservatorships provide for many who are mentally unable to make decisions on their own. Families often use conservatorships to help deal with the mounting medical, financial and mental health needs of a parent. The media’s twist on Spears’ situation should not lead to the dissolving of care for 1.3 million Americans simply because of her celebrity status.

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  • Ives from North Carolina

    Conservatorship is an excellent option for some families in our country as it allows the courts to appoint someone to handle someone else’s finances and other personal needs if the person is incapable of doing it themselves. This allows people with mental illness, major injuries, and for people in medical distress like a coma (Will). This system should not be altered because it is necessary for people that cannot make their own, responsible decisions. The courts should have to be guaranteed that a person is ready to handle finances and other crucial decisions themselves.
    Conservatorship is necessary for people in this country because many people are unable to handle finances and other personal issues for themselves. A parent handles personal finances for their children because they are not capable of handling those tasks themselves. Therefore, adults that are unable to do specific tasks for themselves should have someone to oversee these activities. In 2008, Britney Spears (famous singer and songwriter) was hospitalized for severe mental health issues and the court decided that they should allow Jamie Spears (Britney’s dad) to control her financial affairs. This conservatorship helped Britney during her mental illness. “The conservatorship has helped Ms. Spears get through a major life crisis, rehabilitate and advance her career, and put her finances and her affairs in order” (Madani, Doha, and Diana Dasrath). This emphasizes how conservatorship helps people who do not have the capability to deal with their financial needs, and their need to focus on their own personal difficulties in life.
    The rules that outline getting out of a conservatorship are fair because the court must be completely certain that an individual is ready to make their own financial decisions (John). The court does not want to take away a conservatorship if the person is not completely able to make their financial and medical decisions. If one could imagine the court deciding to revoke the conservatorship from a person that the court assumed could handle these affairs, and then the individual ends up making poor decisions, it could be devastating. This could hurt many people including the individual if the conservatorship is revoked too easily and the person ends up in a financial crisis. Margarette, a bipolar disorder patient went into a financial crisis after she over-spent during her manic stage of her mental disorder. She said, “the stress of trying to manage her debt increased anxiety and made my mental illness worse” (Pat). This shows that people need conservatorship because if there were someone to help Margarette, she could have focused on her mental disorder rather than hurting her financial security at the same time. This is one of the main reasons why the rules about conservatorship should stay the same. There should always be a process that is difficult to overturn and revoke because if an unstable individual is released and they are not ready it could be catastrophic.
    Conservatorship is security for people so they do not have to worry about their financial needs when they should focus on the health and safety of themselves. The current law should not be reformed because the court can currently review the options for changing the conservatorship whenever needed. If able, the status can be changed and the person under conservatorship can control their own financial decisions. There is no reason to change the way the system works because of a high-profile celebrity case.

    Johnson / Turner Legal. “Removing a Conservator.” Johnson / Turner Legal, Johnson/Turner , 14 Dec. 2018, https://www.johnsonturner.com/blog/2018/december/removing-a-conservator/.
    Madani, Doha, and Diana Dasrath. “Britney Spears’ Father Files Petition to End Conservatorship after 13 Years at Helm of Pop Star’s Estate.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 8 Sept. 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/britney-spears-father-files-petition-end-conservatorship-n1277108.
    Pat. “Mental Health.” Bipolar Disorder. Reckless Spending | Here to Help, https://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/visions/income/bipolar-disorder-reckless-spending.
    Will. “What Is a Conservatorship & Conservator [Updated 2021].” Trust & Will, https://trustandwill.com/learn/what-is-conservatorship.

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  • Campbell from North Carolina

    A conservatorship is a legal way that a legal guardian can take legal rights over an adult. This is most commonly used when the adult being cared for has financial, mental health, or medical issues. There are different forms of a conservatorship, these include a limited conservatorship which has basic financial and medical rights given to the guardian. There is also a general conservatorship where the legal guardian has full control over the conservator, much like a parent decides for the child in legal guardianship. There are two more types of conservatorships such as financial and physical. There are also different time spans of these conservatorships. They can span from a short term to a temporary and up to as long as permanent. There are three different reasons someone may get a conservatorship. This is if someone is in a coma, has alzihemrs or dementia, or the have a permanent genetic disability.(Eric Reed)
    I do not think that conservatorships should be reformed, because they are necessary for people who are incapable of making decisions for themselves. In recent times a conservatorship seeming abusive has come up with Britney Spears in the media. Most people think that they need to be reformed. This is not true because Britney Spears’ conservatorship was not abusive. The conservatorship was court issued due to mental health issues she was having. Her dad Jamie Spears was issued as her conservator. The judge believed that Britney Spears could not make decisions for herself that would benefit her after going in and out of rehab. The conservatorship has just now been suspended in September of 2021 because she no longer needs her father to make decisions for her. This instance of conservatorship does not mean the entire system needs a reform. The reason for her court issued conservatorship was valid, because Britney did not like it does not mean that it was not necessary for her mental, physical and financial stability.(BBC News)
    Another big reason why conservatorships are necessary are for the elderly. The most common conservatorship is of people whose age is over 85. Lots of elderly people have impairments such as hearing loss, dementia, or financial problems. All of these problems can be solved by a conservatorship. If an elderly person who has dementia is not involved in a conservatorship then they would not be able to pay their taxes and perform other necessary ideals for living in the US. Conservatorships are necessary to help the mentally, physically, and financially impared.

    Bibliography

    “Britney Spears: Singer’s Conservatorship Case Explained.” BBC News, BBC, 29 Sept. 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53494405.
    Reed, Eric. “What Is a Conservatorship, and How Does It Work?” SmartAsset, SmartAsset, 1 July 2021, https://smartasset.com/financial-advisor/what-is-conservatorship.
    “Conservatorships of Adults.” Superior Court of California – County of San Francisco, https://www.sfsuperiorcourt.org/divisions/probate/conservatorships-of-adults.

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  • Hudson from North Carolina

    A conservatorship is when a judge appoints a responsible person to care for another person who cannot care for themself. And no, they should not be reformed. Conservators should not be reformed because in the hands of the right person they can be crucial in making someone’s life better and protect a person’s important belongings when they are unable to.
    Responsible people make responsible choices, and in a conservatorship, a responsible person is chosen to be in charge of a person’s finances and daily affairs. Sometimes, an irresponsible person can be chosen for this role. Since 2008, Britney Spears’ affairs, financial decisions, and medical decisions have been controlled by her father, who eventually began taking advantage of his role. For a time, Britney’s conservatorship was very much needed. In 2007, she had a major breakdown which resulted in being put in a psychiatric hospital and rehab. Her father was put in control of her finances and important things for her career and life, because she could not take care of those things herself. With that being said, Britney grew older and became sane and did not need her father anymore. Britney’s brother Bryan said, ¨Obviously, there was a need for it in the beginning. Now they’ve made some changes and all we can do is pray.¨(Tsioulcas) Like Britney’s brother and many others in the world, they realized conservatorship was needed to continue the success of Britney’s career, but unfortunately it was placed in the wrong hands, but if it were placed in the right hands, Britney’s finances and money and career would not be taken advantage of.(Tsioulcas) Most of the time, conservatorship is not taken advantage of and trusted people do as they are supposed to in acting out their duties.
    Whether a young person strikes it rich and doesn’t know what to do with their fortune, or an old person who suffers from dementia is unable to deal with their finances, a conservator is used to protect people’s belongings. A conservator can take care of both the person or estate(Nerlinger). People with certain illnesses and disabilities oftentimes are unable to make the choices needed to be successful with their financial or personal affairs. That being said, conservators are chosen to protect them from the bad that would come if they were to handle it themselves. Conservators can also protect the children of someone who is in no form of being able to care for them. If the government or someone finds they are unable to take care of their child, a conservator will be or will find what is called a legal guardian to look after and protect that child.
    Conservators should not be reformed. In the hands of a responsible person, unlike Britney Spears’ father, conservators can be crucial in making an unstable person’s life easier. Conservators also protect finances and personal affairs when a person is unable to. Without conservatorship, elders who can’t care for themselves and young uneducated people and many others would be helpless.

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  • perry from North Carolina

    In a recent court case involving Britney Spears; a national icon in singing and songwriting, Judge Brenda Perry ruled that Britney’s father could no longer be her conservator, raising issues surrounding economic self-governance in America. Conservatorships should not be reformed due to the fact that they manage finances and daily life for someone with old age or mental limitations.
    There are many different types of conservatorships such as financial, physical, general, and limited. Financial and general conservatorships allow for the conservator to have full authority over their clients finances, limited and physical conservatorships allow authority to specific aspects of their clients life, such as their health and living facility, ensuring that the conservator does not have complete power over the conservatee’s life. When a loved one is reaching the age where they can no longer carry out their everyday finances and healthcare issues, a conservator steps in to ensure that they are properly handled. (Reed)
    While conservators mainly serve those with “severe cognitive disabilities”, they can also be used to help those with mental issues. (Wamsley) Britney Spears is a prime example of this; in 2008, the singer/songwriter’s father was concerned due to her erratic public behavior, leading him to file a petition in Superior Court in attempt to become her conservator, which would allow him to manage Britney’s finances and other important life decisions so she could focus on her mental well being. Although Britney was not a usual candidate for conservatorship as stated by Wamsley, she was deemed incapable of making healthy decisions with her finances and healthcare policies, which allowed Judge Perry to place her under conservatorship.
    Although many individuals view conservators as a violation of their individual rights, Silverman Law Office states that, “conservatorship is to protect a person who is unable to care for themselves from being victimized by people with dishonest intentions.” Many of Britney’s fans believe that she should be released from her conservatorship due to the fact that she “cannot enter into contracts for herself.” (Betancourt) Under conservatorship, she is deemed unable to protect herself from those with wrong intentions, so how can a citizen argue for her freedom when she could potentially be taken advantage of in a contract deal?
    Ultimately, conservators should not be reformed due to the fact that they protect citizens who cannot protect themselves. If we reform conservatorships, we as a nation are saying that those with mental and physical disabilities should be kicked to the curb with no help. I could not imagine living in a country where those who are born with disabilities or have developed illness are supposed to fend for themselves in the real world. How would you feel if your grandma developed dementia and could no longer make rational life decisions, but she could not seek help as a result of conservatorships being reformed?

    Citations
    Reed, Eric. “What Is a Conservatorship, and How Does It Work?” SmartAsset, SmartAsset, 1 July 2021, https://smartasset.com/financial-advisor/what-is-conservatorship.
    Wamsley, Laurel. “Britney Spears Is under Conservatorship. Here’s How That’s Supposed to Work.” NPR, NPR, 24 June 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/06/24/1009726455/britney-spears-conservatorship-how-thats-supposed-to-work.
    “Mental Health Conservatorship.” Superior Court of California – County of San Francisco, https://www.sfsuperiorcourt.org/divisions/probate/mental-health-conservatorship.
    “What Reasons May Someone Need a Conservator?” Silverman Law Office, 9 Aug. 2021, https://mttaxlaw.com/what-reasons-may-someone-need-a-conservator/#:~:text=The%20goal%20of%20conservatorship%20is,by%20people%20with%20dishonest%20intentions.
    Bianca Betancourt Associate Editor Bianca Betancourt is an Associate Editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com where she covers celebrity news. “Britney Spears’s Father Has Been Removed as the Conservator of Her Estate.” Harper’s BAZAAR, 30 Sept. 2021, https://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/a34113034/why-longtime-britney-spears-fans-are-demanding-to-freebritney/.

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  • Hannah from North Carolina

    I do not believe that conservatorships should be reformed. Although it is a very complicated matter and there is a lot of work that goes into getting one put into place, I believe that conservatorships can be beneficial and extremely necessary in some situations. Many times people look at conservatorships as “an often messy, confusing, and difficult time for almost every member involved.” (Trust and Will, 2021) It doesn’t have to be like that though if someone is of an older age and thinks that one day they could possibly end up in a state of mind where they are unable to take care of themselves and their financial needs they have the ability to set up an Estate Plan. This plan would go on to list who exactly they want to be in charge of their finances and this makes things go much smoother in the courts. There are also many different reasons as to why a conservatorship can be put into place, “Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, brain injury or stroke, coma, injury or illness, mental challenges, and mental illness.” (Trust and Will, 2021) All of these things could easily happen to someone and in these cases the people are most likely not able to continue taking care of themselves let alone keep up with their finances. “When a person is considered to have a severely diminished mental capacity, a court can step in and grant someone the power to make financial decisions.” (Dalton, 2021) This is when a conservator is put into place which is very beneficial for the person who has been incapacitated. Also if anyone is ever suspecting anything, “A court investigator visits the conservatee regularly to determine whether a conservatorship is still necessary.” (Family Caregiver Alliance, 2012) That being said, the conservatee is able to speak up about anything they are feeling uncomfortable about and that can be taken care of so the situation doesn’t escalate. There are many advantages to a conservatorship, one being that it is much safer, “it offers a higher degree of protection to the conservatee than other management mechanisms.” (Family Caregiver Alliance, 2012) Although it does take a lot of time and can be pricey it is much safer than any other means of taking care of the conservatee’s finances. Another advantage to conservatorship is it is well organized, “it provides a structured method to assist an incapacitated individual who may be reluctant to accept such assistance.” (Family Caregiver Alliance, 2012) This allows for things to be done in a proper manner through the court and not done by two individuals where one is likely not in a right state of mind to settle out what to do when it comes to their finances. Along with many other advantages conservatorship is very beneficial in many cases and it can be a real support for the conservatee in this time of need. It can be difficult and time consuming but in the long run I do believe it can help those who are unable to help themselves.

    Family Caregiver Alliance. (2012). Conservatorship and guardianship. Conservatorship and Guardianship – Family Caregiver Alliance. Retrieved October 7, 2021, from https://www.caregiver.org/resource/conservatorship-and-guardianship/.

    Dalton, A. (2021, June 25). Explainer: How conservatorships like Britney Spears’ work. AP NEWS. Retrieved October 7, 2021, from https://apnews.com/article/britney-spears-conservatorship-meaning-6a484c43ce6c5ff1e73af0dfd97d948a.

    Trust and Will. (2021). What is a conservatorship & conservator [updated 2021]. Trust & Will. Retrieved October 7, 2021, from https://trustandwill.com/learn/what-is-conservatorship.

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  • Jolee from Missouri

    conservatorships appearing in the media recently doesn’t change the fact that they are a necessary method for helping those who are not ready or can’t assume the responsibilities of a full adult.

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  • bailey from Kentucky

    No, I don’t think that the conversatorship should be reformed. In our society there are many needs for conservatorship. The most relevant conservatorship right now is for those who struggle with mental health with an example of Briteny Spears. Mental health issues have been on the rise in teens and young adults in the last 10 years and heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic. This has led many people to get tangled in many problems. If someone was given the power to help those, most often a family member, this would help those people out tremendously. Another example is those who are elderly and can not handle the financial responsibility on their own. Managing your finances is hard for most working adults, but it is even harder for someone who is mentally impeared or someone who is ageing and may not be in the best state of mind. This helps to insure that those who need help can’t “run wild” with their finances and get themselves into trouble. And while some may say that a conservator could abuse the power and take money from the person this is very unlikely. There has to be probable cause for a judge to grant this to a person which involves checks from mental health professionals as well as attorneys on both sides arguing the case. This means that it isn’t an easy thing to come by and it will be made sure that it is absolutely necessary and that it goes to the right person. Going along with that some who are struggling might have children that are being harmed by their parent’s lack of mental awareness and financial debt. By having someone be able to step in it would help to make sure those kids don’t struggle unnecessarily and that the parents may have access to the help that they need.

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    No, I don’t think that the conversatorship should be reformed. In our society there are many needs for conservatorship. The most relevant conservators…

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  • Malena from Missouri

    I think that conservatorships should not be completely reformed. Conservatorships are completely necessary for those who are not responsible for themselves. But I think in cases like Britney Spears or all conservatorships should be reviewed every so often.

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    I think that conservatorships should not be completely reformed. Conservatorships are completely necessary for those who are not responsible for thems…

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    • Samuel from Minnesota

      But, then, you agree they are in need of changes (reform)? Reform is not removal or a complete reworking of the system. If you agree it’s in need of changes, you agree it is in need of reform.

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      But, then, you agree they are in need of changes (reform)? Reform is not removal or a complete reworking of the system. If you agree it’s in need of c…

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  • Zack from Missouri

    No because they help people who are going down a bad path not keep making bad decisions. Even though Brittany Spears have her conservatoship go on to long, if she didn’t have it then she might not have became the person she is today.

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    No because they help people who are going down a bad path not keep making bad decisions. Even though Brittany Spears have her conservatoship go on to …

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  • Rylee from Missouri

    I am saying no because it can be very important to those with mental disabilities, elderly people who are vulnerable and may be taken advantage of, as well as young children who cannot yet fully understand the consequences of their financial habits. I do, however, think there should be stricter laws about who can do it. I think the ward should have a mental evaluation or be able to “age out” or something like that to ensure that financial abuse (like what happened to Britney Spears) cannot happen to others, or is much harder to execute.

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    I am saying no because it can be very important to those with mental disabilities, elderly people who are vulnerable and may be taken advantage of, as…

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  • Camden from Kentucky

    Conservatorship should not be reformed. In the case where someone needs a conservator they are in an extremely low place and can not take care of themselves. In order to get out of it they need a judge to review the case and approve that the person is responsible enough to take care of their belongings. The premise of a conservatorship is to help the ward get back on their feet and be in a stable situation. When you take away the ward’s responsibility they are clearly in a very poor situation and are not ready to take care of their fiscal responsibilities. This means this person must be in a very improved situation to get it back. Thus in order to get control and responsibilities back they should undergo some sort of long process to get it back to show they are responsible again in some way. Thus as of now it takes a full petition to be removed and a trial with a judge in order to determine if it is appropriate to hand back control. This is an appropriate system. If the person was in such a bad place they couldn’t take care of their own finances they shouldn’t be able to take control with the snap of a finger. Thus they need the current long trial and petition process in order to fully evaluate and understand that the moving of responsibility back to the person is a safe and responsible action that will not harm them again. Some may argue that it is their right to have control over their property when they want it. This is true but when they sign the conservatorship to another person they are declaring they can not take care of their responsibilities and thus all of it should be put on someone else. When this is the case you simply can not just hand back responsibility because it is not responsible of the courts as well as the decision to enter a conservatorship is legally binding and you used your rights to decide for yourself to enter in to this decision and forgo the rights and direct access to your finances. Thus is simply does not make sense to reform the conservatorship for the benefit of the ward and in order to make sure they will not be harmed by handing back responsibility.

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  • Nick from Minnesota

    Misuse of conservatorships appearing in the media recently doesn’t change the fact that they are a necessary method for helping those who are not ready or can’t assume the responsibilities of a full adult.
    When Britney Spears’ conservatorship was formed, it was a necessary step in protecting a child’s future from rash decisions. While it may have been continued for far too long, the initial idea and implementation was good. Conservatorships can also be used for the elderly, in order to protect them and their finances from devious tricksters. People I know who are beginning to suffer from dementia are starting to go through this process with their families. It can be a sad step for the old, but necessary to their continued wellbeing. The same applies to the young, who often don’t understand fortunes they make or inherit, so a conservatorship can be a good step for keeping them and there future wealth safe. A very important part of what makes conservatorships good is that people can work to remove themselves from one, such as what is happening to Britney Spears- bad implementations of conservatorships exist, but are reversible.
    Having conservatorships are necessary to keep those young, old, or without full executive function from accidentally harming themselves or wasting resources that they may regret in the future.

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    • Samuel from Minnesota

      Reform doesn’t mean removal. Removal is not inherent to, not implicated to be, and not necessary for reform. It’s clear that the system is in need of change when considering how difficult it was for Britney Spears to regain control of her financials. Conservatorships are useful and needed, like you’ve said, but that’s not relevant to whether or not they are in need of reform. It took a massive movement for Spears to be freed of her conservatorship, and in general it’s unreasonably difficult for anyone in a conservatorship to be removed from one.

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      Reform doesn’t mean removal. Removal is not inherent to, not implicated to be, and not necessary for reform. It’s clear that the system is in need of …

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