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Years after meltdown, Britney Spears is still a conservatee

Britney Spears makes headlines today for very different reasons than she did a few years ago. James Spears, Britney's father, became his daughter's conservator five years ago after the singer exhibited bizarre public behavior.

Conservatorships in California are granted through probate court in cases when conservatees are incapable of making personal or financial decisions. Most of Britney Spears' life decisions have been made by her father. Some observers wonder whether the singer will ever get the chance to take back control.

Thirty-one-year-old Britney Spears recently walked away from a second stint as a judge on the television show the X Factor. During her one-year, $15 million tenure, Spears exhibited qualities that were missing in the days before conservatorship. Some reports say show originator Simon Cowell was disappointed that Spears did not act out in public.

Spears also abandoned her engagement to Jason Trawick. Trawick shared and then resigned a partial conservator role with Britney's father. Some bloggers' reports suggest the singer felt her fiancé was acting more of a babysitter than a husband-to-be.

Under conservatorship, Spears is legally incompetent and makes few of her own decisions. Conservatorship proceedings - guardianships for minors -- are generally reserved for individuals who have been incapacitated by illnesses, age, injuries or disabilities.

A mental health condition, as Spears has been rumored to have, could make conservatorship necessary indefinitely. Evidence of a positive change in the singer's demeanor in the last several years has been noted, but no move has been made to end conservatorship.

A California court could place Spears back in charge of her own life. Before that could happen, the celebrity would have to prove that she was capable of taking care of herself and the enormous sums of money she makes from her career.

Becoming a conservator could save a loved one's life. An attorney familiar with the conservatorship process can advise clients concerned about struggling or disabled relatives.

Source: forbes.com, "When Will Britney Spears Be Free Of Conservatorship?" Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Jan. 14, 2013

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