Conservatorship in California: Understanding What It Means After the New Britney Spears Documentary

Conservatorship in California: Understanding What It Means After the New Britney Spears Documentary

Patty Lamberti
 | 
The new documentary "Framing Britney Spears," which aired this past weekend on FX and can be streamed through Hulu, has people asking some serious questions about why the pop star is part of a legal arrangement known as a "conservatorship."

A conservatorship is a formal arrangement which means a person must have all of his/her/their financial, medical, professional and personal affairs managed by another because the person can't make good choices for physical or mental reasons. 

You can watch the documentary yourself to decide what you think about Britney Spears' situation.

But we wanted to seize this opportunity to explain what a conservatorship is, and the role  lawyers play in the process. 

Why you may want to be the conservator of a loved one


Acccording to the California Superior Court," All adults are considered capable of handling their own affairs unless a Judge determines otherwise. In California, this legal arrangement is called a conservatorship."

A conservatorship is a formal arrangement on which a person or organization oversees the personal care and/or financial matters of another adult who's not capable of managing his/her/their own life due to physical or mental reasons, such as:
  • Old age
  • An accident or other serious injury
  • Mental illness
  • Addiction issues
  • Disabilities
The person who cannot care for him or herself is called the conservatee. The person or organization the judge chooses to do this is known as the conservator. A conservator can be a family member, friend or a professional. Judges usually prefer the conservator and conservatee have a pre-established relationship.

How to become a conservator

It's not easy.

First, you need to make sure you can even ask a California court to grant you such enormous power over another person. 

California courts will only accept petitions from:

 
  • The spouse or domestic partner of the proposed conservatee;
  • A relative of the proposed conservatee;
  • Any interested state or local entity or agency; 
  • Any other interested person or friend of the proposed conservatee; and
  • The proposed conservatee, himself or herself.
Then you've got to figure out what type of conservatorship you want - a probate conservatorship or a  Lanterman-Petris-Short Conservatorship.

Did that last sentence stump you? If so, we're not suprised. 

Getting a conservatorship is the perfect example of a situation in which you need a lawyer to assist you in navigating complex legal terms, and a long process that will involve fillng out many forms, gathering evidence and making multiple court appearances. 

Remember that both parties will likely be at odds, so there will be a battle. Lawyers can help you navigate your emotions, and avoid bringing drama before a judge. 

How to get out of a conservatorship


Since 2018, when many people noticed cryptic messages on her Instagram account, some have been wondering if Britney Spears no longer wants her father - who was awarded conservatorship over her affairs - to no longer be in control of her life. 

Conservatorships are usually permanent

But sometimes, the conservatee feels they no longer need assistance. Other times, the conservator no longer wants the responsibility. 

In such cases, a lawyer is essential. 

There will again be many forms, appearances and interviews with neutral third parties. 

Here at LawChamps, we can connect you with experienced lawyers who can help both those seeking and fighting conservatorships. And unlike the lawyers involved in the Britney Spears legal case, we're reasonably priced.

 

This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.

 


 
Patty Lamberti

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