Conservatorships can be a helpful tool when loved ones struggle to make healthy decisions in their own best interests.
Even so, people often view conservatorships in a negative light. It is easy for individuals to abuse the power a conservatorship might give them, which has led many people to question the validity of the conservatorship over Britney Spears.
First, what does a conservatorship do?
A conservatorship puts someone else – called the conservator – in charge of another person’s affairs if they cannot manage these affairs themselves. This could include their personal care or financial decisions.
Naturally, conservators must act in the best interest of the conservatee. This is a requirement to make sure the conservatorship accomplishes its goal of protecting individuals who may not have the ability to make decisions for themselves.
Recent news leads to scrutiny over conservatorships
Many people are aware that pop icon Britney Spears has been under a conservatorship for the last 12 years. Her father, James Spears, is the conservator of his daughter and maintains control over:
- Her financial affairs and matters of her estate
- Her lifestyle and health decisions
However, Britney Spears’ attorney has now moved to suspend her father’s role as the conservator of her estate and her person. According to her attorney, Spears fears her father and worries her career will be upended if he maintains authority over her through the conservatorship.
Why is this causing controversy?
Britney Spears’ situation has garnered particular attention because of her celebrity status. However, the case has also come up against legal criticism.
It is important to note that California law outlines specific standards to grant conservatorships. The proposed conservatee must be unable to:
- Provide for their own needs, including food, clothing, shelter or physical health
- Manage their finances or avoid undue influence
Many people, from fans to legal professionals, claim that Britney Spears has proven she can accomplish all of these factors, leading them to believe that the conservatorship has lasted too long and inhibits Spears’ rights and free will.
Regardless of the outcome of this case, conservatorships can be effective to help protect loved ones in challenging situations, though it is always critical to ensure it is in the best interests of that individual.