Conservatorship and Guardianship Abuse Awareness Day is observed annually on February 1, usually through online conferences and events, such as debates, live streams, and discussions. The day aims to raise awareness about abuses of power within the conservatorship and guardianship system, which was created to care for people with disabilities or illnesses impairing their decision-making abilities. However, some guardians and conservators take this as an opportunity to control and manipulate their wards.
HISTORY OF CONSERVATORSHIP AND GUARDIANSHIP ABUSE AWARENESS DAY
Guardianship allows an individual with normal living conditions to take over the health-care and nonfinancial decisions of someone suffering from a degenerative illness, injury, or coma. Guardians are appointed by a court and don’t necessarily have to be family members or friends of the ward. Anyone capable of making reasonable decisions for the welfare of the individual in their care can be appointed. In addition, guardians don’t deal with financial matters, so they’re prohibited from making monetary-based decisions.
In contrast, a conservatorship is when an individual living with reasonably normal conditions assumes control over the financial concerns and needs of someone unable to make them, including people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia or those in a comatose state. Conservators are also appointed by the court and don’t need to be friends or family members. These people typically deal with financial matters, meaning someone can be designated as both guardian and conservator if necessary.
Pop singer Britney Spears’ case is a well-known example of conservatorship and guardianship abuse that this day exposed. In 2008, her father and an attorney became her conservators. Although she showed signs of lucidity, however, her conservators were accused of abusing their financial power and restricting her access to the large amounts of money she had earned throughout her career. Conservatorship and Guardianship Abuse Awareness Day was set on February 1, the day Spears’ conservatorship began, to bring attention to similar cases of abuse.
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CONSERVATORSHIP AND GUARDIANSHIP ABUSE AWARENESS DAY DATES