Britney Spears Conservatorship and what you can learn for your estate plan
Britney Spears Conservatorship and what you can learn for your estate plan. The latest Britney Spears documentary and the Free Britney movement are shining a light on conservatorship and guardianship issues that everyone should know about. Protect yourself and family from a conservatorship by having a revocable trust centered estate plan. Otherwise, like Britney Spears, you could end up without control over your financial and personal life.
What does Britney Spears' conservatorship proceedings mean and what can you learn from it? Well, by the end of today's video, you'll know what you can do to protect yourself and your family.
Right now, according to the Google, 3.3 million of you are searching for information about Britney Spears. And that is probably because of the latest "New York Times" documentary called "Framing Britney Spears" and also because of the #FreeBritney movement. This past November, Britney Spears won a small legal battle, and the court appointed a co-conservator over her finances.
In August, 2020, Britney Spears filed a motion to have the court remove her father, Jamie Spears, as the financial conservator and, instead, appoint a qualified corporate fiduciary. Last week, the court upheld its previous decision in November appointing Jamie Spears and a corporate fiduciary, Bessemer Trust, as co-conservators over Britney Spears' finances. Britney Spears' attorneys argued that she deserved to know exactly what financial actions her father was making and, further, that she was, and I quote from the article, "afraid of her father".
Britney Spears' attorneys went so far as to argue that she will no longer perform until her father is removed as her conservator. So we probably won't see very many Britney Spears performances in the near future. Her father's attorneys argued that he should have sole control, but the court rejected that argument.
What is interesting and probably confusing for most people is that, although Jamie Spears must now share control over her finances with Bessemer Trust, the corporate fiduciary, he still has complete conservatorship over her person. Jamie Spears still has complete control over her actions and really who has access to Britney Spears. He has complete control over everything, except that he has to share the finances with Bessemer Trust.
By now you probably have three questions. First, What exactly is a conservatorship? How did Britney Spears get to where she is? And third, what does this all mean to you? First, what is a conservatorship and what is a guardianship? You hear these two words interchangeably a lot. Unfortunately, a conservatorship and a guardianship are defined differently state by state.
Generally, the term, conservatorship, means appointing a conservator with the power to control a ward's property and financial affairs. A guardianship, on the other hand, means appointing a guardian with the power to control healthcare and living arrangements of the ward. In other videos, like this one up here, you have heard me call conservatorship and guardianship proceedings as living probates because the procedures are similar, they cost several thousands of dollars, and to make matters worse, families are usually fighting with each other over who knows best for dear old mom or dear old dad, or Britney Spears.
In some states, the terms conservatorship and guardianship are used interchangeably. So it really just depends on where you live. In Britney Spears' case, her father, Jamie Spears, has a conservatorship over her person and a conservatorship over her property and assets. California uses the term conservatorship for both. So depending on what state you live in, you might have a conservatorship, a guardianship or a combination of both. It just depends.
So what happened to Britney Spears? This all began in the mid to late 2000s when she was in a transition from a child to a pop star. Her actions back then were widely followed and reported. And in 2008, her father, Jamie Spears was granted an emergency temporary conservatorship. This was later made into a permanent conservatorship, and over 12 years later, her father is still serving in that role. It is estimated that her net worth is now around $59 million.
And of course, her father's team attributes her success in large part to the control he has had over her entire life. Unfortunately for Britney Spears, she has no control over her own money. It has also been reported that those extremely lucrative Las Vegas residencies that she did required that Britney Spears remain under the control of the conservatorship during the entire contract of those Vegas contracts. Honestly, no one knows what is going on with Britney Spears because, by their very nature, conservatorship and guardianship proceedings are private.
n fact, in most states, you can go online and download the pleadings in almost any case and in many cases for free of charge. However, try to look up a guardianship case, and the court's file will not even acknowledge a conservatorship slash guardianship even exist for somebody. It's that private. And really, that's a good thing, right? These are truly private matters. I usually see conservatorship and guardianship proceedings progress in three stages very similar to the Britney Spears case.
First is the immediate emergency. Britney was reported to be placed on two psychiatric holds back in 2008. So there was an emergency. What we usually see is an adult child that has fallen to drugs or alcohol and needs immediate help. The family will usually get an emergency guardianship and place their adult child in a detox or similar facility to help them get clean and ready for the next step. We also see this with elderly adults who suffered an incapacity issue, either mentally or physically, and they need immediate care, same as above in the adult child cases, and we get an emergency guardianship in place to get parents the immediate help that they need.
The next phase that I see is ongoing care and helping the adult person get back to and ready for whatever their life might be after that. That's a very important stage. The final stage can go two ways, really. The first is when the person is better, and we extinguish the guardianship so they can actually live their own life.
The second way we usually see is, with older adults, is a permanent plan in place for their ongoing care. In other words, the guardianship, well, it never ends. Again, we really don't know what is happening in the Britney Spears case, but it sounds like she has progressed into the third stage, and possibly might be ready to be the entrepreneur of her own life. And I can tell you, from 20 years of practice, that none of this, guys, none of this is enjoyable.
Whether it is your child or your parents, a conservatorship and guardianship are highly emotional and expensive proceedings. Children are often fighting with each other, trying to figure out what is best for their mom or their dad. We've had some of these adult guardianships cost families tens of thousands of dollars, especially when the kids are fighting. The costs just go up.
This brings us to the last point. What can you learn from Britney Spears' conservatorship? First, I hope that you have realized how expensive and how emotionally charged these proceedings can be. Second, if you put a plan in place, you can avoid the expensive and emotional distress to you and your family during these proceedings.
So what's the better option?
A revocable living trust centered estate plan. As part of a revocable living trust centered estate plan, if you have properly funded your trust, then your incapacity trustee can easily step into your shoes and make certain that your assets are administered exactly how you want them administered. Your plan will also have a financial power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, living will and HIPAA authorization.
All of these documents in your revocable living trust centered estate plan will work together to make certain you and your finances are managed on your terms. Talk to your family and your estate planning attorney. Get a plan in place to keep you in control of you. I truly hope that Britney Spears and all of you get to be the entrepreneur of your own life.
I know I've thrown a lot at you today, so that's why we've prepared our free guide on estate planning. I'll put a link to it in the description below and in the comment section below that, so that you can download it and get started in the right direction. And to help you out even more, watch this video up here and this video up here. If you enjoyed this video, then, guys, please smash that subscribe button and click on the like button, and also click on that little bell so you'll get notified every time we post a new video. Have a great day and an awesome week and, as always, thanks for watching.