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How Would Britney Spears’ Conservatorship Be Handled in Wisconsin?

Posted on in Estate Planning

Milwaukee estate planning lawyerBy: Attorney Erin Strohbehn

Issues related to adult guardianship have been in the news recently due to a prominent legal case involving Britney Spears. The pop star has spoken out against the conservatorship that has given her father and others control over her life and finances. Because of this, people in Wisconsin may be curious about their own rights in guardianship cases. Those who are looking to establish guardianship or conservatorship for an adult and people who may need assistance with their personal or financial needs can consult with an estate planning attorney to understand their rights and options.

Details of Britney Spears’ Conservatorship Case

As a person who is in the public eye, Britney Spears’ personal struggles have been well-known. Following a meltdown in the mid-2000s, she was placed on an emergency psychiatric hold, and this led people close to her to establish a conservatorship in which her father, Jamie Spears, and other people assumed control over her personal and financial affairs. While some people involved have stated that this conservatorship was meant to be temporary, it has remained in place for 13 years. Ms. Spears has attempted to get out of this legal agreement, and she has claimed that she has been forced to take medications against her will and that she has no control over whether she can get married or have children. Notably, Jamie Spears has received compensation for serving as his daughter’s conservator, including an annual salary of $130,000 and a percentage of the revenues from her performances.

Guardianship and Conservatorship in Wisconsin

Since Ms. Spears lives in California, that state’s laws apply to her conservatorship case. For those who live in Wisconsin, matters may be handled somewhat differently. Wisconsin law allows for the appointment of a guardian for an adult, although a guardian can only be appointed against a person’s will if a court determines that they are incompetent. Typically, incompetence involves an impairment that has resulted in a substantial, long-term disability. Applicable impairments may include developmental disabilities, serious mental illnesses, or degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. An impairment must have resulted in a lack of “evaluative capacity” that has caused a person to be unable to evaluate information effectively or impacted their ability to make decisions about their personal health or finances.

Depending on a person’s needs, the court may appoint a guardian of the person, who will be allowed to make decisions about their health and safety, or a guardian of the estate, who will be able to manage their financial affairs. A person may also request that a conservator be appointed to help them manage their property and finances. In cases involving guardianship, a potential ward has the right to be represented by an attorney, and the court and the guardian or conservator are required to act in a way that puts the least amount of restrictions on a person’s ability to control their life and make decisions for themselves.

Contact Our Milwaukee Guardianship Attorneys

If you have questions about establishing guardianship or conservatorship in Wisconsin, the attorneys of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can provide the legal help you need. We will advise you of your rights and options as a guardian or ward, and we will help you create a guardianship agreement that meets the needs of everyone involved. Contact our Milwaukee, WI estate planning lawyers today by calling 414-271-1440.

Sources:

https://madison.com/entertainment/britney-spears-father-to-step-down-from-conservatorship/article_606d47cd-6847-5a7a-9bc1-0ae7f9449956.html

https://www.vox.com/culture/22565683/britney-spears-conservatorship-testimony

https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p2/p20460.pdf


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