Conservatorships have been making headlines recently, first with pop star Britney Spears’ high-profile battle to end hers and most recently with retired NFL player Michael Oher, whose life story was turned into the Oscar-nominated film “The Blind Side.” Oher says he was tricked into signing papers making Sean and Leigh Tuohy his conservators. He says he falsely believed they were his adoptive parents and contends they withheld decades of financial information from him.
What exactly is the purpose of conservatorships, and when, if ever, does it make sense to enter into one?
Jasmine E. Harris is an expert in disability and anti-discrimination law at Penn Carey Law. Her work seeks to address the relationship between law and equality with a focus on law’s capacity to advance social norms of inclusion in the context of disability. She’s currently researching the topic of conservatorships.
Penn Today sat down with Harris to discuss the history of conservatorship agreements, how they can be problematic, and why now is the time to do more than just overhaul the system.