Your Loved One and Britney Spears May Have Something in Common: Need for a Conservator
Singer and entertainer Britney Spears is back in the news because of the release of a new movie about her. It’s not a concert film, nor is it a romantic comedy or a musical. It’s about the fact she apparently can’t handle her affairs and the legal battles that have resulted. Many Kentuckians struggle with the same issues, but you won’t read about them in tabloids.
“Framing Britney Spears,” a documentary by The New York Times, available on FX and Hulu. Part of the series is about the conflicts over Spears’s conservatorship, a legal arrangement where other people, mainly her father, have managed her career, personal life, and finances since 2008.
If Your Family Member Can’t Care for Themselves, Someone Else Can Be Appointed to Help
In Kentucky, there are many legal options for adults who, due to physical, emotional, and or psychiatric issues can’t care for themselves. They may need help to safeguard their health, their homes, and assets. They may be vulnerable to exploitation by others, so protection is needed.
Legal guardianship allows for a guardian to take full responsibility for personal care, property, and financial matters. Legal conservatorship is more limited. The conservator is responsible for the person’s property and financial affairs but lacks authority over the person’s care. Conservatorship is a good option when people need help with living arrangements and financial matters but are competent enough to make their own health care decisions.
Under Kentucky Revised Statutes, Chapter 387, someone concerned about a person files a petition in District Court (the petitioner). The person who’s subject to the proceeding is the respondent. After the petition is filed, the respondent is evaluated by a physician, a psychologist, and a social worker.
The reports by the three are evidence presented in a trial before a six-member jury. They decide if the person is disabled as defined by the law. If so, they will next determine whether the disability is full or partial and recommend that the respondent get legal conservatorship (full or limited) or guardianship (full or limited).
For a legal conservatorship, the conservator holds the respondent’s property for the respondent’s benefit. The conservator must not abuse the property and use it for their benefit. The appointment may be a way to address the financial exploitation of someone who’s elderly or disabled.
Fame and Misfortune for Britney Spears
Spears is a gifted and at one time successful pop star who has been surrounded by people capitalizing on her wealth and fame. Like so many who have shot to fame, she used celebrity culture to promote herself, but photographers invaded every private and damaging moment they could.
Spears had a long run of successful and money-making performances in Las Vegas (250 shows over six years reportedly grossed $138 million) when she apparently had a break down in 2019. Spears was dealing with psychiatric issues and drug abuse, according to the New York Times.
Spears’s father, James P. Spears, known as Jamie, has overseen much of his daughter’s financial and personal life as one of her conservators, reports the New York Times. They virtually control her life, including Spears’s mental health care and travel.
Jamie Spears stopped working as a conservator in 2019 and may return to the role this year. That’s something Britney wants to prevent. Jodi Montgomery replaced Jamie as a conservator, initially in a temporary role. Through Britney’s court-appointed attorney, she’s stated she fears her father and wants Montgomery to replace him permanently. Britney’s also stated she will not perform if her father is a conservator. An upcoming court hearing may address what role Jamie will play, if any, in her future.
Tyler Fleck Can Help You and Your Family Tackle These Tough Issues
Conservators and guardians are needed by those suffering from disabilities who can’t fully care for themselves. Often the elderly become conservatees (the people being supervised), but 40 year old Spears is an example that an adult of any age may require help.
As you can see, family issues can cause problems, but ultimately a judge is responsible for the situation. Whatever family drama or politics is going on, a judge won’t put up with it and will focus on the conservatee’s best interests.
We can help if you:
- Believe a loved one needs a conservator or guardian
- Feel family members are trying to force this arrangement on you despite the fact you can take care of yourself
- Are in declining health and believe you’ll need someone to manage your finances or make medical decisions for you in the future. You may be able to avoid the need for a guardian or conservator by executing powers of attorney
If you have any questions about powers of attorney, guardianships, or conservatorships, please contact The Fleck Firm today at (270) 446-7000. We can help you with the challenging issues you face in a caring, compassionate, and practical way.