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opinion

By Cassandra Castillo, Asst. Features Editor–

For years Pop Star Britney Spears has been in the spotlight for not being able to make her own decisions. The recent documentary Framing Britney that was out on Hulu Feb. 5 drew even more attention to her and the definition of conservatorship.

The documentary goes in depth about her legal battles with her father, Jamie Spears, as primary conservator. Many people think that she is capable of handling her money and livelihood, but the control he has over her remains.

This brings up the question of how the conservatee can decide when they are able to control their own lives again. 

Although it is rare, they can try to file a petition with the probate court that appointed the conservator; this court is a part of the judicial system that handles wills, estates, and conservatorships. The petition requires detailed evidence as to why removal of the conservator is necessary, according to the Johnson Turner legal team.

Spears recently stepped down as the conservator of person for his daughter, but remained in charge of estate, in other words, in control of her finances. Licensed Conservator Jodi Montgomery took over the role and has been requested to be permanent conservator by Spears herself. This will allow Montgomery to make her medical and personal decisions. 

Spears announced she would no longer make appearances until her father renounced as co-conservator. She prefers for the bank, Bessemer Trust, to be solely in charge of her financial ordeals. 

The question of who gets to decide the conservators also arises if the conservatees are not allowed to choose for themselves. 

The judge appoints someone after reviewing the evidence of why a conservatorship is needed, several states prefer a relative to be in charge. If the judge sees that another person is a better fit, they will then choose that person. 

These are the people who gain tremendous control over another being. Much like the Spears case, it seems like people are in it for the power and compensation they receive. 

Compensation comes from the conservatee’s assets and with a person who makes millions like Spears, they could gain a large amount of money.

Although Spears is not the first to be in this situation, she has brought attention to the matter, which makes people think about how legal the system of conservatorship really is if they cannot get out of it. 

In many ways conservatorships are beneficial for someone unable to care for themselves. In cases with someone like Britney Spears who is able to make her own decisions, the probate court should redetermine the way it assigns such power.

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