Douglass & Runger - February 2021


It’s no secret that social media has revolutionized the way we live. These websites and apps used to help us stay connected with high school friends and distant relatives. But now, they’ve turned into platforms for social justice reform, budding entrepreneurs, and ... shopping? That’s right, shopping! In October 2020, Instagram introduced @shop, its official account for shopping on the platform, following rumors from several influencers. The account features products from various retailers, and users can also click on the shopping bag icons that appear on their favorite posts outside of the @shop account. By clicking on the bag, users are either taken to the retailer’s website to continue the purchasing process, or they can purchase items without even leaving the app.

The big advantage of this account is that users don’t have to worry about untrustworthy retailers or scammers promoting products that fit the user’s algorithm. Instead, @shop becomes a centralized place for businesses that consumers can trust. It also builds on key elements of Instagram's network of economic influence. Experts at Business Insider have already lauded the Facebook-owned app for the move, claiming it could generate $10 billion in revenue by 2021. However, Instagram isn’t without its faults. A study published in Time magazine in 2017 found that Instagram was the worst platform for mental health and well-being. The study examined about 1,500 teens and found that the platform often heightened “anxiety, depression, bullying, and FOMO, or the ‘fear of missing out.’” This study

and others have users and experts concerned that Instagram’s shopping features will further influence destructive behaviors and thoughts. Instagram’s @shop can be an easy, useful destination for users interested in the products or clothes their favorite celebrities or influencers are using. It can also be a useful tool for small- business owners looking to broaden their market. However, it is vital that consumers and parents continue to do their own research to determine which products are best and how to safely consume the content on their feeds. Parents can learn more by visiting, and shoppers can find more details directly on Instagram’s help page.

What Is a Conservatorship? AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?

There are many complex components in the field of estate planning, but none maybe as drastic as conservatorship. On the surface, this protectionary designation by the courts protects adults from managing their affairs or making decisions for themselves when they are not of sound mind, but the facets and process of conservatorship can be much more involved. What is it? Conservatorship is a legal concept whereby a court appoints a person to manage an incapacitated person’s financial and personal affairs. The courts will appoint a person, typically a family member, to act as the conservator of an adult who is suspected to be legally disabled and unable to make the best decisions for their well-being. The individual for whose benefit the conservator is appointed is commonly referred to as the respondent. The conservator appointed will typically be given the power to make decisions, such as medical and financial choices, on behalf of the respondent as necessary and as is required to protect the respondent. Conservators are fiduciaries to the extent that they exercise control over a respondent’s money and must act in the best interest of the respondent at all times. How do you establish conservatorship? 1. Petition: A petition must be filed with the court setting forth the identity of both the proposed conservator and respondent, the reasons conservatorship is warranted, a summary of the respondent’s assets, and the powers that the proposed conservator requests the court remove from the respondent. The law also requires that a physician’s affidavit be attached to the petition. This affidavit must be signed by a doctor who examined the respondent within

90 days of the filing of the petition and also set forth the doctor’s opinion that conservatorship is warranted.

2. Guardian Ad Litem: After the petition is filed, the court will typically appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL), an independent attorney who will objectively investigate the circumstances and allegations set forth in the petition. The GAL’s investigation often includes interviews with the respondent, the respondent’s family members, and the proposed conservator as well as possible interviews with doctors, nurses, and other providers involved in the person’s care. 3. Decision: A hearing before a judge will determine whether the conservatorship will be granted. The hearing involves testimonies from the proposed conservator, the GAL, and other interested parties. The GAL will make a recommendation to the court as to whether or not the GAL believes a conservatorship is in the best interest of the respondent and, if so, whether or not the GAL believes the proposed conservator is a suitable person to serve. Why does this matter? This process seems convoluted just to name a conservator, but the courts use this process to protect the respondent’s rights. Conservatorships can be powerful, useful methods of protecting those who may otherwise make detrimental decisions, and it involves a process, which sometimes can be extremely sensitive and even divisive amongst family members, that our team is well-versed in managing. Contact us today to learn more and visit for information on your other legal needs.

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