Family and Divorce

What Is a Conservatorship?

A conservator may have control over a person’s money, lifestyle, diet, and more. If the adult in need of a conservator lives in a home or facility, the conservator must follow regulations.

When a child needs a guardian, they are adopted and placed into that adult’s care. Children are unable to protect, care for, and vouch for themselves. Having a guardian is necessary as children need someone to make decisions for them in their best interest to ensure they are safe. 

A conservatorship is a similar concept, but for adults. If an adult is deemed incapable of caring for themself, they may require a conservatorship. This means that another party, such as a family member or an organization, has taken a guardianship role over this adult. The conservator may make decisions with the adult’s best interests in mind, as they may be unable to make their own.  

A conservator may have control over a person’s money, lifestyle, diet, and more. If the adult in need of a conservator lives in a home or facility, the conservator must follow regulations. 

Reasons For Having A Conservatorship 

There are a few different reasons that someone may require a conservatorship. One common reason is for an elderly parent or family member who is incapable of taking care of themselves. Often in these situations, a family member is forced to take on the brunt of the care, which can cause burnout and resentment. 

Being a full-time caregiver for someone in this instance can be draining both emotionally and financially. Many people find that having a conservatorship for their loved ones is better in the long run as there is someone to help their ailing family member without putting all of the pressure on their shoulders. 

In a similar capacity, unrelated to age, someone may need a conservatorship if they are not in the right mind to make their own decisions. Those with limited mental capacities may benefit from having a conservatorship as they need someone to ensure their safety and wellbeing. 

Those that have experience with severe mental health struggles or drug use may also require a conservatorship. A notorious conservatorship is the one between popstar Britney Spears and her father, Jamie Spears. Britney was placed in a conservatorship after her mental health struggles surfaced, and now the star is unable to break free from. 

Another reason may be that the adult is in a coma or otherwise incapacitated and needs someone to watch over them and their wellbeing. 

Downsides To Conservatorships 

While conservatorships can be a great tool when implemented correctly, there are downsides as well. As mentioned, Britney Spears has been unsuccessfully trying to escape her father’s conservatorship after she recovered from severe mental health struggles. 

A conservator may gain control over the member’s financial status and accounts, meaning they may have an incentive to remain in control. It’s essential to understand who, exactly, the conservator may be and whether they are a trustworthy source. 

How To Get A Conservatorship 

In most cases, a conservatorship is court-appointed. A family member or someone close to the affected may petition for a conservatorship, which will then be reviewed and decided on in court. A doctor or other professional may observe and diagnose the individual before the hearing. 

Those who petitioned for the adult to have a conservatorship will be present in front of the judge and may plead their case on why they believe this person requires guardianship. 

How To End A Conservatorship 

Ending a conservatorship may prove more difficult than starting one. Famously, Britney Spears is still struggling to break free from her conservatorship. Even though she is a well-known, wealthy star that has overcome her mental health struggles, she has been unable to end her conservatorship. 

Ending a conservatorship entails someone coming forward and starting a petition to remove the conservator, either due to an unfit guardian or an adult who no longer needs their conservator. Depending on the circumstances, the court may decide to terminate the conservatorship, and the adult may re-enter society under their control. 

If the court deems the conservatorship still necessary, the contract may remain in place, and the adult will still be looked after by a guardian. 

In the end, remember to do what is best for the adult that is in need of care. You can get different opinions and find out what may be the best option for your loved one. 


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