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USA Today Interviews Professor Nina Kohn About Conservatorship Reform in the Wake of #FreeBritney

Posted on Friday 10/8/2021
Nina Kohn

It's not just Britney Spears. 1.3 million Americans are under conservatorships. Activists want reform.

(USA Today | Oct. 8, 2021) Sheila Owens-Collins hoped her ailing mother, Hattie Owens, would spend the last years of her life as she wished, as a retired schoolteacher living on her own in a spacious house in Houston, active in her church and community center.

“She envisioned her life at home, tutoring students and having kids coming over to swim in the pool or spend the holidays,” said Owens-Collins, a pediatrician in Rockville, Maryland. “Her biggest wish was never having to leave home.”

Instead, Owens was placed under a court-appointed guardianship after what Owens-Collins claims were a relative's attempts to gain access to Owens' finances through legal chicanery while her mother was hospitalized and under temporary guardianship ...

... Guardians, appointed to manage affairs of individuals deemed unable to responsibly make their own decisions, can be family members, attorneys or agency professionals. While their purpose is to help individuals live lives driven as much as possible by the individual’s own choices, such arrangements can be exploited for personal gain without proper oversight, said Nina Kohn, a law professor at New York’s Syracuse University who specializes in elder law.

"Advocates have known for decades that our guardianship system is deeply flawed," Kohn said ...

Read the full article.