What Would A Conservatorship Look Like Here In Michigan?
With Britney Spears' recent bombshell revelations about her conservatorship she has been under for the past 13 years, we have an idea of how that process works in California...but what would that look like here in Michigan?
Obviously, we understand every instance of a conservatorship is different. Many are probably not to the extreme level of controversy as Britney's, everyone has different circumstances.
Reasons For A Conservatorship
While we are not legal experts here so this is just going to be breaking down the basics with all of this and there will be links for you to research further.
According to Michigan Court Rules Chapter Five Probate Court, a conservator acts as a guardian for someone who is "incapacitated" for a multitude of reasons.
Once a conservator is appointed, BRMM says that in Michigan, that person then has the authority to manage the finances of the conservatee who can no longer responsibly manage their own property or business affairs.
They also say " A court also may appoint a conservator for a minor in specific circumstances and for certain mentally competent individuals who request an appointment for themselves."
How Does Michigan Deem A Conservator Necessary?
"The process for establishing conservatorship starts when a qualified person files a petition with the appropriate court requesting appointment of a conservator," BRMM says. "The court then gathers information about the situation and about the individual for whom protection is sought."
According to Michigan's Chapter Five Probate Court, that information gathered includes, but is not limited to:
- Examination by mental health professional or physician
- Hearings outside of the courtroom
- Guardianship appointed either by a will or other writing
From there, if a conservatorship is deemed necessary by the courts, then Michigan Law Center's "Conservator's Handbook" says the next steps are to establish the conservator's powers and appoint the appropriate person.
However, there are differences also outlined in the handbook as to what guardianship means versus conservatorship.
A Conservator's Powers
So Britney's conservatorship is definitely a lot more intense and complicated than any of us could even imagine, but for the sake of simplicity, these are the basic powers for a conservator in Michigan as outlined by Michigan Legislature.
In Michigan, many of the "Powers of conservator in administration" involve a lot of control over real estate decisions.
Aside from that, other powers include:
- Making business decisions such as reorganization, consolidation, merger, liquidation and more for a conservatee's corporation or business enterprise(s)
- "Pay a tax, assessment, conservator's compensation, or other expense incurred in the estate's collection, care, administration, and protection."
- Employ people to "advise or assist in the performance of an administrative duty" be that an investment advisor, auditor, or an attorney to carry out legal services or advise on the "conservator's administrative duties."
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As a conservator you can be a "representative payee" for the individual; however, the "Conservator's Handbook" says that does have to be processed through the Secretary of State.
Being A Conservator Is For The Benefit Of The Individual
No matter where you are, be that California or Michigan, conservatorships are supposed serve the same fundamental purpose which is to provide assistance to an individual who needs it.
Of course, as we've seen lately, there are people who abuse that power...*cough cough Jamie Spears*
With that being said, Michigan's "Conservator's Handbook" it really all comes down to the conservator respecting their "fiduciary duty" to the individual, not using this system for their own personal benefit and respecting the limitations of their powers.
So, no, not every person in a conservatorship is living the nightmare that Britney has been living for the past 13 years. There are tons of resources to help those who need a conservatorship in one way or another here in Michigan to hopefully prevent that.