West Palm Beach readers may be familiar with some of the questionable press that seems to regularly arise around the conduct of actress Lindsay Lohan. Most recently, the actress had an encounter with police over accusations of hitting a man with her car. Although the man claimed that the actress reeked of alcohol, both the police investigation and surveillance camera footage exonerated the actress of any criminal wrongdoing.
Despite the lack of any evidence corroborating alcohol use, the incident ties into recent civil court filings that echo events in the life of fellow celebrity Britney Spears. Like the popular singer, the actress now finds herself the subject of a petition for conservatorship filed by her father. Although Florida law would refer to the father's action as a petition for guardianship, the legal effect will be the same if the court decides to grant the father's request.
In many states, the term conservatorship refers to a court order that grants a person authority to manage and control the finances of another person. In Florida, conservatorship applies only to an order granting authority over the finances of a person who is deemed an absentee, such as someone declared to be a missing person or presumed dead. In all other circumstances, establishing guardianship will confer the same scope of authority.
Most commonly, guardianship over a person's finances will be sought to help out a person who lacks the capacity to independently manage personal financial affairs. Often, family members seek guardianship over an elderly loved one in order to make sure that the person is protected from financial exploitation. In other cases, however, a guardianship may be necessary to protect a loved one from a tendency to make reckless financial decisions.
In the actress' case, her father claims that alcohol abuse is a threat to his daughter's life and that a conservator is necessary to put an end to financial advantages taken by others. He claims that his daughter's well being is his only concern and he is asking the court to appoint someone other than himself to oversee his daughter's finances.
Source: New York Daily News, "Lindsay Lohan off the hook in NYC hit-and-run case as dad Michael Lohan bids for Britney Spears-style conservatorship," Nancy Dillon, Oct. 22, 2012