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Conservatorships and the #FreeBritney Movement

Posted by Dana Law Group on August 30, 2021

Due to the current #FreeBritney controversy, a lot of people have heard about conservatorships. While, in this case, a conservatorship may seem to be the antagonist, they’re frequently used for legitimate purposes. Let’s take a deeper look into conservatorships and the #FreeBritney case.

What is #FreeBritney?

Britney Spears has recently fought to remove her father as her conservator and dissolve the conservatorship. She is doing this on the basis that her father has been acting as her conservator not in her best interests — that he has been making choices based on his personal wealth and that he has been abusing her estate for his personal gain. Much of this comes down to the way that a conservatorship is developed, but this is what occurs when conservatorships “go wrong.”

What is a Conservatorship?

A conservatorship occurs when an individual is deemed to be incapable of taking care of their own legal and financial affairs. In the case of Britney Spears, mental health issues and drug abuse were cited.

When someone cannot take care of their own estate, a conservator may be chosen to start making these decisions for them. For the most part, this is a positive development and the relationship between conservator and conservatee should be a positive one. The conservator is charged with making decisions that are best for the conservatee. The conservator should never act in their own self-interest.

Whether or not Britney Spears’ father was acting in his own benefit rather than his daughter’s is something that will need to be explored by the courts.

How Do You Grant or Take Away Conservatorship?

The act of granting conservatorship is not taken lightly. An individual has to show that the conservatee is not mentally capable of taking care of themselves. This would be completed with the help of health professionals.

To take away a conservatorship, the conservatee would need to show that they were now capable of taking care of themselves again. And, again, it isn’t a decision that’s taken lightly. This is why in the case of #FreeBritney, it was easier for her to first change her conservator than it was for her to get the conservatorship canceled altogether.

What Are the Benefits and Dangers of Conservatorship?

In Britney Spears’ case, conservatorship spread into issues of guardianship, which can include medical and lifestyle decisions. In the case of Britney Spears, the choice to have an IUD was not her own because it was considered detrimental to her estate. Conservatorship also extends deeply into one’s financial situation. If Britney Spears’ father is found to have squandered large portions of her estate, he will be liable — but it won’t be surprising, because he did have ultimate financial control.

But there are benefits to conservatorship, which is why it exists. Consider a disadvantaged young adult who is incapable of distinguishing scams from real bills. An individual might get taken advantage of by other people if they do not have someone taking care of their money. Likewise, someone in a coma is not going to be able to take care of their own estate; a temporary conservatorship could be required until they recover (if they do).

Because conservatorship is so encompassing, anyone considering a conservatorship (or fighting one) will need to go through the proper legal channels. If you want more information about conservatorships, what they do, and what their limitations are, contact the experts at Dana Law Group.