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Last Updated on Sep 15, 2023

According to news reports, the family of Cindy Birdsong, a former member of The Supremes, has asked that a conservatorship be created for her. Birdsong’s health has been poor for some time. She shared an apartment with a longtime friend, Rochelle Lander. To manage Birdsong’s finances, Lander was granted a power of attorney.

However, the family was not satisfied with the care Birdsong was receiving, or with their ability to communicate with her. In 2021, Birdsong was removed to a skilled nursing facility, where she still resides. In requesting the conservatorship, the family seeks to terminate Lander’s powers over the singer’s finances. Brother Ronald Birdsong is to be co-conservator, along with Brad Herman, who had worked with other celebrities.

A guardian or conservator of the person takes over daily decisions for living, as well as full financial management. These include deciding where the person lives, arranging for personal care and nutrition, and supervising health issues. The guardian is paid from the assets of the person being cared for.

To protect against the possibility of financial mismanagement, a surety bond may be required of the guardian. The costs of such bonding will depend upon several factors, including the size of the bond, the creditworthiness of the conservator, and geography. This expense is also paid from the assets of the person being cared for.

A useful alternative for affluent retirees to consider is establishing a revocable living trust for financial management using a bank or trust company as trustee. This will provide professional asset management, in accordance with the retiree’s needs and objectives. The trust terms define the scope of the trustee’s duties, and may also provide a metric to determine whether the beneficiary has become incapable of financial management. In the event of incapacity, this valuable financial trust management goes on without missing a beat, without the need for a court appointment of a guardian, saving time and money.


(July 2023)

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