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Britney Spears’ Father Suspended as Conservator for Her Estate

Pop star Britney Spears successfully had her father suspended as conservator for her estate. Spears, who has been under a legal conservatorship since 2008, celebrated the victory, although she said she has “a lot of healing to do.” In the meantime, she will remain under a temporary conservatorship, until another hearing on ending the conservatorship entirely this November.

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Britney Spears Seeks an End to Her Conservatorship

Britney Spears, once one of the most popular musical performers in the world, has been mostly out of the public eye for years. However, due to issues with her mental health and substance abuse, James Spears was appointed conservator for Britney in 2008 in the state of California. She is now seeking to have that conservatorship modified or ended entirely, based on allegations that her father has abused his power as her conservator. Continue reading “Britney Spears Seeks an End to Her Conservatorship”

What is the Difference Between a Guardianship and a Power of Attorney?

When someone becomes incapacitated or otherwise unable to make their own decisions for themselves, one of two things will happen. If the person has already signed a power of attorney, that will take effect, and whoever has been granted the power of attorney will make decisions on that person’s behalf from then on. However, if they do not have a power of attorney, a guardian will be appointed to fill a similar role. But what is the difference between someone being granted power of attorney, and someone being appointed a guardianship? Continue reading “What is the Difference Between a Guardianship and a Power of Attorney?”

What is a Guardianship?

Chances are that, at some point in your life, you’ve heard of a “guardian” before, especially in the context of children, or older relatives, or people with certain disabilities. However, you might not know what a guardian is, or why someone might have one. Fortunately, the idea is easy to understand, and it’s good to know about just in case you, or someone you know, has a guardian appointed for them. Continue reading “What is a Guardianship?”

Becoming a Legal Guardian

Under Article 81 of New York’s Mental Hygiene Law, a court is authorized to appoint a guardian to manage personal or financial affairs of an incapacitated person. Not all guardianships will be the same, as they are tailored to the necessities of the incapacitated person known as the ward. Some guardianships will only be granted to provide assistance with one specific need, whereas others will include assistance with many needs.
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Caregivers Kept in the Loop with NY CARE Law

The Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable Act (CARE), signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on October 14, 2015, has been fully enacted as of January 7, 2016.  The law requires hospitals to allow a caregiver to be added to a patient’s record when being admitted.  The law goes further in requiring hospitals to keep the caregiver well informed about how to care for the patient, even training the caregiver before the patient is discharged.

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No COLA Means Higher Medical Costs for Seniors

Approximately 65 million people collect Social Security benefits on a monthly basis, including retired and disabled workers. Typically the government adjusts Social Security benefits annually to reflect cost-of-living increases. The government recently announced that there will be no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2016. This is only the third time in the past 40 years that the Social Security Administration has not increased its payments.

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Tanya Hobson-Williams, P.C. Defends Client’s Marriage to Husband who was declared an Incapacitated Person Resulting in Wife Inheriting $3 Million Dollar Estate

On September 24, 2014, the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division: Second Department reversed a lower court’s order annulling the marriage between a younger woman and an elderly man.  The Appellate Division determined that a new hearing on the man’s ability to enter into a marriage contract was warranted. Capacity, in a legal sense, refers to the ability to make a rational decision based upon all relevant facts and considerations.

The case involved an elderly man who was appointed a guardian by the New York Supreme Court to provide for his personal needs and property management. During the course of his guardianship, the elderly gentleman entered into a marriage with a younger woman. After being informed of the marriage, the guardian asked the Court to have a psychologist determine whether the elderly man had the capacity to enter into a marriage. After a hearing and testimony, the New York State Supreme Court determined that the elderly gentleman lacked the capacity to enter into a marriage, and, as a result, annulled the marriage.

On Appeal, attorney Tanya Hobson-Williams, representing the young woman, argued that her client was not given any notice that her marriage would be annulled and that she lacked the opportunity to be heard by the court before it ultimately decided to annul the marriage to her late husband. While the petition to appoint a Guardian for the elderly man requested a determination of the elderly gentleman’s capacity to handle his affairs, neither the Petitioner nor the Guardian ever requested that the marriage be annulled. Essentially, all that was formally requested of the court was to determine matters pertaining to the level of guardianship. Continue reading “Tanya Hobson-Williams, P.C. Defends Client’s Marriage to Husband who was declared an Incapacitated Person Resulting in Wife Inheriting $3 Million Dollar Estate”

Daughter of 85-year-old Being Denied Guardianship Rights

As a loved one grows older or when he/she suddenly becomes incapacitated, the basic human instinct is to protect them from harm. And although there are many cases involving family and friends with bad intentions, it is clear that if the ability to make decisions for your loved one was stripped away from you, the results would be heartbreaking. That is what a Pittsburgh woman is claiming regarding the medical treatment and control of her mother.

Mirsada Begovic, the daughter of 85 year-old Enisa Begovic, claims that in the last two months, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has restricted her access to her mother and has required her to be escorted to her mother’s room by security, after the hospital accused her of interfering with her mother’s medical care. Mirsada, a physician trained in Bosnia who once was part of the University of Pittsburgh Medical School staff, says however, her only offense has been advocating forcefully for her mother. Continue reading “Daughter of 85-year-old Being Denied Guardianship Rights”

Dividing Caregiving Responsibilities between Siblings

Caring for an elderly parent or family member is a serious responsibility to take on and can bring joy and purpose into one’s life but may also cause both emotional and financial strain on a caregiver and his/her family. Having another person such as a sibling to help rely on, can help make things easier, but it can also lead to conflict and resentment. It is important to understand the issues that may arise when two or more adult siblings are caring for an elderly parent, and the best ways to resolve problems.

The main question that is usually asked between siblings taking care of a sole elderly parent is: “Who will be the primary caregiver, and what factors go into the decision?” One of the main factors taken into consideration is the proximity of the siblings in regards to the elderly parent’s home. Yet there are plenty of other factors that siblings should consider while creating a plan for the caregiving. Such as:

  • Work Schedules
  • Individual’s Family Income
  • Individual’s Personal Skills such as day-to-day hands on care or the financial planning and organizing

The best way to avoid conflict and confusion is to communicate openly and often. Good communication is probably the most important factor in making these decisions. Ideally, responsibilities will be divided in whatever way feels fair to everyone involved, and arriving at the best outcome depends on communication.

Finally, as with most things, careful planning will save a lot of headaches and keep your loved one as best protected as possible. Just as the schedule of doctor’s appointments and daily medications needs to be kept track of, so should the finances be kept in careful order and hiring an experienced attorney can make all the difference. If you are splitting responsibilities for caring for a loved one, or believe that you will be taking on such a responsibility in the near future, contact a skilled elder law attorney to help ensure that the right steps are taken to protect your loved one.