Britney Is Back
As Britney Spears released her latest album, “Glory” on August 26, 2016, she seems poised to make a powerful comeback after relinquishing her previously earned title, The Queen of Pop. Having recently sewn up a two-year, 35 million dollar deal to continue her ‘residency gig’ at the Planet Hollywood Resort in Vegas, one would have to think, “Oh baby, baby.”
Many people are shocked to learn (as the NYT reported 5/4/16)[i] that Ms. Spears has been “controlled by a court-approved conservatorship, known in other states as a guardianship, designed for people who cannot take care of themselves.” (NYT 5/4/16)[ii]. Michigan law allows for both, a Guardianship, which deals with the physical care and well-being of an individual and a Conservatorship, which handles financial decisions for the individual. Depending on the circumstances, a legally incapacitated individual could have one or both.
Substance abuse and an undisclosed mental illness are the reasons cited by her family to initiate conservatorship actions back in 2008. Since then the “Conservators are widely credited with rescuing Ms. Spears’s career—and her life…” (NYT 5/4/16)[iii]. As she continues to show stability and fend off the demons of substance abuse and mental illness, it is speculated that her being under conservatorship will not be necessary in even the near future.
A conservator is a person appointed by the Probate Court to manage the assets of another person, when:
1) he or she has property that will be wasted or used up unless proper management is provided; or
2) funds are needed for the support, care, and welfare of the adult and any of his or her dependents.
Some of the reasons that might prevent the individual from being able to manage his or her property and financial affairs are:
1) mental illness or deficiency;
2) physical illness or disability;
3) chronic use of alcohol /other intoxicants;
5) detention by a foreign power; or
The case of Britney Spears, although involving a celebrity, is not unique. Many people every day have conservators or guardians appointed by the Probate Court to assist in their decision-making. At The Darren Findling Law Firm, PLC, we routinely deal with the appointment of conservatorships and guardianship. While it may not be viewed as one of the more ‘glamorous’ areas of the law, we know how important and vital our services are to not only our clients, but to society in general. For further information on conservatorship and guardianship, please do not hesitate to reach out to the experience attorneys are The Darren Findling Law Firm, PLC.
Written by Joseph Tardif, attorney at The Darren Findling Law Firm, PLC
[i] Kovaleski, Serge F. and Coscarelli, Joe “Is Britney Spears Ready to Stand on Her Own?” New York Times [New York] 4 May 2016.