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Conservatorships and guardianships in Massachusetts are more common than you might think

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There are an estimated 1.3 million Americans under legal arrangements in which at least some of their decisions are controlled by someone else.

Those arrangements are imposed by a court, and only a court can terminate them. As there are no federal laws governing these provisions, each state is left to determine how to handle each guardianship or conservatorship case.

Rick Black, whose advocacy group helped shape the FREE Act says guardianships and conservatorships can lead to abuse. Black says that’s because of the way the equity court is designed.

“It’s really there to serve the attorneys because they all feed off the estate as soon as that order is signed”, Black told And Another Thing.

To get out from an unwanted conservatorship or guardianship in Massachusetts, anyone is permitted to petition a court, according to Northampton mental disability law attorney Robert Fleischer.

What’s more, Fleischer tells And Another Thing that he believes the majority of what he estimates to be hundreds of thousands of court-ordered guardianships in Massachusetts, are unnecessary.

A version of this updated episode was originally broadcast on July 21, 2021.

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