Conservatorships: Protecting Those Unable to Care for Themselves

Conservatorships: Protecting Those Unable to Care for Themselves

Conservator of the Person

Last spring, millions of Joni Mitchell fans were shocked to learn of her collapse in her Bel Air home. Mitchell, whose popularity spans generations and demographics, was rushed to UCLA Medical Center, and there were conflicting reports about her health, that she might have a mysterious condition called Morgellons disease, with a wide range of debilitating symptoms. As it turned out, Mitchell had an aneurysm and spent months in the hospital recovering. When it was time to go home, she required constant care, and a friend, Leslie Morris, was appointed Conservator of a Person, responsible for Mitchell’s overall care and protection.

Good news for Mitchell fans

Mitchell is doing much better, but she still requires care and cannot make informed medical decisions for herself, so a court-appointed attorney has recommended that Mitchell’s temporary conservator be appointed permanently.  

Conservator of the Person and the Estate for Britney Spears

Britney Spears, the bad girl who can’t seem to stay out of trouble or the headlines remains under personal and financial conservatorships more than seven years after her father and her attorney were placed in charge of both her wellbeing and her estate in early 2008 after a breakdown landed her in an involuntary psychiatric hold. Poor decision-making and erratic behavior, a brief marriage, birth of several children, a divorce and a custody battle—these continued examples of lack of responsibility mean that the Conservatorships of the Person and the Estate that were initiated in 2008 are still in place and there is speculation that these will be lifetime conservatorships.

Becoming a Conservator

In order to become a Conservator, it’s necessary to file a petition with the Court. As Conservator of the Person, in Mitchell’s case, Morris will be responsible for making care decisions for Mitchell that she’s unable to make for herself. She will:

  • Make decisions about meals, living arrangements and housekeeping

  • Provide for health and personal care

  • Provide transportation, including taking the Conservatee to doctor’s appointments

In Spears’ case, her father and her attorney are both Conservator of the Person and Conservator of the Estate. In addition to making decisions about her personal care, they will also be making decisions about/managing Spears’ money and property. They will:

  • Manage the Conservatee’s finances

  • Protect the c Conservatee’s income and property

  • Make a list of everything in the estate

  • Make a plan to make sure the Conservatee’s needs are met

  • Make sure the Conservatee’s bills are paid

  • Invest the Conservatee’s money

  • Make sure the Conservatee gets all the benefits he or she is eligible for

  • Make sure the Conservatee’s taxes are filed and paid on time

  • Keep exact financial records

  • Make regular reports of the financial accounts to the court and other interested persons

If you are considering a Conservatorship or Power of Attorney for someone in your family, come in to one of our three Bay Area California Document Preparers offices for more information or to get started. We help make this easy for you.