What is the Purpose of a Conservatorship?

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A conservatorship is not always controversial like with Britney Spears.

Conservatorships have been in the news recently as celebrities like Britney Spears or Amanda Bynes battle their parents for control over their lives and finances.

If people were to base their knowledge of conservatorships from only these articles, they would conclude that conservatorships serve no positive purpose.

This would leave them with an inaccurate, or at least incomplete, understanding of conservatorships.

According to a recent Deseret News article titled “Why the sensational Britney Spears case is atypical of most conservatorships,” a conservatorship is supposed to protect the person for whom it has been granted.

A conservatorship is supposed to provide protection.
A conservatorship is meant to provide oversight of financial decisions.

These are particularly common with aging adults.

Families begin to notice their loved ones are making harmful decisions and no longer have the mental capacity to live independently.

This is most noticeable for those who face cognitive decline through dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Financial problems may be a trigger for choosing to pursue a conservatorship.


Elder financial abuse is common.

When you notice a large check written to strangers or atypical purchasing, your loved one may require the support of a trusted family members to safeguard these assets.

States have different rules governing what authority guardians and conservators hold.

In some states, a conservatorship only grants authority to manage finances.

When this is the case, a guardian typically must be appointed over medical care and living arrangements.

To grant a conservatorship, the court must acknowledge evidence of incapacity.

In the case of Britney Spears, she has petitioned to remove the conservatorship and must demonstrate her capacity to manage her own personal and financial affairs.

In her case, the court removed her father and appointed a temporary conservator until the next hearing in mid-November.

Like Britney Spears, any protected person or interested party can petition the court for a termination of a conservatorship or guardianship.

Many states have a “Bill of Rights” for those protected under guardianships or conservatorships.

To more accurately understand the nuances of a conservatorship, you should talk with an experienced estate planning attorney.

The attorney will be able to answer your questions or provide pre-emptive incapacity planning through powers of attorney documents.

ReferenceDeseret News (Sep. 30, 2021) “Why the sensational Britney Spears case is atypical of most conservatorships”

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