When most people think of guardianships and conservatorships, they are reminded of pop star Britney Spears’s case. Spears was at the height of fame when her father assumed conservatorship over her finances and personal affairs in 2008. Guardianships have their advantages and drawbacks; if you’re a Florida resident, here are some important things you should know.
How many people have guardianships?
The National Council on Disability asserts that nearly 1.3 million conservatorship or guardianship cases are active in the U.S. at any given time, with managed assets that total no less than $50 billion belonging to people who have had their rights taken from them. Guardianships are mainly run by relatives and are meant to benefit the person placed under guardianship. However, there is a chance that the person under the conservatorship could be financially exploited by family members.
Most guardianships are long-term commitments, and it can be difficult to get out of them or conservatorships since they often require lengthy litigation. Relatives are also legally bound to care for the individual under guardianship, which can lead to physical and mental stress in some cases.
Reasons for a guardianship
Britney Spears fought for years to be free from her conservatorship but has only recently been allowed to represent herself in court. Most people who are in guardianship are suffering from mental illness or medical issues that could impair their ability to make wise decisions concerning their finances and standard of living. This can include young adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, senior citizens who have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, and other people who have mental illnesses. The state has an interest in protecting individuals who are not able to fully care for themselves.
Guardianships can provide security for relatives once someone has guardianship over them. The relative in charge of the conservatorship has the serious responsibility of making legal and financial decisions on behalf of their loved one.