Guardianship Laws Create Pathway for Abuse

As the “Free Britney” movement gained traction over the last year, questions over the reasoning and validity of the Britney Spears Guardianship became widespread. However, hers is not an isolated case. Although it can be an important tool in some cases, the guardianships can also be used by family members, business associates, and others to syphon assets.

As detailed in a recent Law360 article, findings of incapacity are often motivated by reasons other than care for the individual or a genuine concern for maintaining their assets. Instead, they can be initiated by family members who dislike a new spouse, by children seeking to take control of stock or other assets, or for nearly any other reason.

Once a guardianship has been established, existing laws make it extremely difficult to reverse the finding of incapacity or to wrest control of assets back from the guardians. While there are efforts to change the rules, such as the proposed Uniform Guardianship Act, states have been slow to adopt those changes because of the costs associated with oversight.

For those seeking to challenge a finding of incapacity or to dissolve a guardianship, it is imperative to work with an established attorney who understands the relevant law.