Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Guardianships and conservatorships are proceedings that provide for the care of minors or disabled adults who are unable to make responsible decisions concerning their own person or assets. The purpose of these proceedings is to protect and care for someone in need of assistance, but arguably amounts to taking away some of that individual’s civil rights.
While every state code includes specific provisions governing guardianship proceedings, in California, the state’s mental health laws allow for any individuals who are a danger to themselves or others to be detained for up to 72 hours for observation and treatment. The statute provides for additional involuntary confinement thereafter. If a judge finds that the individual is gravely disabled as a result of a mental disorder, then a conservator may be appointed, and the judge may specify the conservator’s specific powers.
Guardianships and conservatorships are becoming increasingly used in California by the parents of troubled Hollywood celebrities and former child stars, such as Britney Spears in 2008, and Amanda Bynes in both 2013 and 2014. Amanda’s case is a perfect illustration as to why the decision to initiate guardianship proceedings is especially delicate. When Amanda was under the conservatorship of her parents, she went through a series of troubling events, including an arrest for marijuana. Per the California statute, she was put under psychiatric hold and her mother was appointed to control her finances. Amanda was arrested again, and after she was released from the psychiatric hold, Amanda roamed the streets of Hollywood. The next scheduled hearing in Amanda’s conservatorship proceedings is set to take place in February.
See John T. Brooks and Jena L. Levin, Trending Now: Hollywood Guardianship and Conservatorship Proceedings, Wealth Management, Jan. 21, 2015.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.