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JAMS ADR Insights

Estate, Probate and Trusts

Asymmetrical Conservatorship Litigation

Well-meaning participation early in the process may inadvertently significantly increase the financial cost burden on the conservatee.

The financial burden of litigation involving the establishment of conservatorships is imbalanced. The person whose care and well-being presumably are the motivating factors compelling the litigation bears most, if not all, of that substantial burden.

For other kinds of litigation, each party usually pays its own attorney fees. Through that symmetrical relationship, the parties equally face the possibility of financial exhaustion. For conservatorships, however, the conservatee frequently must pay the attorney fees for all of the parties embroiled in the litigation. In the context of this article, the term “proposed conservatee” may perhaps be technically more precise. As a matter of linguistic convenience, however, “conservatee” will be used. Given that asymmetrical relationship, the parties can subject the conservatee to collectively imposed financial ruin.

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