Every week there seems to be something that comes up in the news regarding the latest antics of some Hollywood star. Whether it involves a brush with the law, some type of dangerous behavior, or any other bizarre act, some stars seem to go looking for trouble. However, when this behavior becomes constant, many people close to the individual become concerned and look into potential options to help.
Actress Amanda Bynes has had her name in the headlines continuously over the past few months due to a series of bizarre behaviors including multiple arrests. However, her latest incident may have been the final tipping point for her to get the help that she needs. Several news outlets reported that Bynes soaked her dog in gasoline and set her pants on fire in the driveway of an elderly woman. The actress then reportedly fled the scene, attempted to wash her dog at a nearby store, and then ran off again. The police then picked her up and had the 27-year-old committed to a psychiatric facility for mental health treatment.
As a result of the latest incident, her parents have filed for conservatorship over her. While many people think that this should have occurred long ago, filing for conservatorship is something that is never taken lightly. A conservatorship is a legal proceeding that seeks to protect an adult by granting legal authority to another person, the conservator, to manage his or her affairs. The conservator is granted the right to make even some of the most basic decisions of the individual in his or her care like where they may live, what they can spend money on, or who they may spend time with.
Conservatorships typically involve the elderly who may be battling dementia or Alzheimer’s, or those with developmental disabilities. While state law varies, Tennessee conservatorship law requires the individual to be either incapacitated or disabled before a conservator is appointed. Tennessee also requires that the petitioner prove that the appointment of a conservator would be the “least restrictive alternative” to protect the individual for health or financial reasons.
However, California law, which applies here, has different requirements for appointing a conservator. For a conservator to be appointed for non-financial decisions, Bynes’ parents will have to prove that their daughter is “unable to provide properly for her personal needs for physical health, food, clothing, or shelter.” To become a conservator of the estate, or over financial decisions, her parents will have to prove that Bynes is “substantially unable to manage her own financial resources or resist fraud or undue influence.”
In filing for the conservatorship, Bynes’ parents will use her extreme behavior in an attempt to meet each of these tests. In court filings Bynes’ parents have expressed a deep concern that their daughter poses a large risk to herself and to others. Her parents have expressed that Bynes’ behavior has been fed by a number of issues. According to her parents, Bynes has become increasingly paranoid even going so far as covering smoke alarms and taping windows shut in fear of being watched. Bynes has also reportedly struggled with substance abuse. Also, Bynes’ parents have cited her obsession with plastic surgery as another issue after she spent a large amount of cash on doctor’s bills. According to her parents, Bynes spent $1.2 million of her $4 million savings in a short time with many of the checks written out to cash.
Will the conservatorship be approved for the struggling actress? It is too soon to tell, but Bynes’ parents seem to have a growing amount of evidence in favor of the conservatorship. Doctor testimony will likely be a large factor in determining whether it will be approved or not. However, it is worth noting that Bynes is not cooperating. She has an attorney and may attempt to tell the court that she does not need a conservatorship. A hearing has been set for August 9 to determine whether the court will approve the conservatorship.
If you have questions regarding a conservatorship in Tennessee, contact The Higgins Firm. Our Nashville based lawyers would be happy to help you with your conservatorship issues.