With the #FreeBritney movement and documentary Framing Britney Spears reigniting the conversation around the pop star's current conservatorship situation, the complexities of what exactly a conservatorship is, and when people are put under them, has been at an all-time high.
What Is A Conservatorship?
Let's look specifically at the U.S legal system for this, given we are talking about Britney Spears. In the States, a conservatorship is when the court appoints of a guardian/protector who will manage the individuals financial affairs (and, in some cases, daily life) due to either old age or physical/mental limitations.
This can be just of the estate (essentially their belongings and finances) or it can be of the person, where daily activities and so on are controlled.
What Is Britney Spears' Conservatorship?
For Britney specifically, the conservatorship came about after her public breakdown in 2008. She was put in a "5150 hold", a 72 hour mental health lockdown, after which her father, Jamie Spears, was granted emergency "temporary" conservatorship due to Britney's alleged inability to manage herself due to mental health.
This temporary conservatorship was extended, and while the specific details are not public (although Britney herself has asked for sections to be made so), Jamie Spears and Andrew Wallet were co-conservators up until 2019. Currently, her long-time care manager Jodi Montgomery is the temporary conservator.
What Is A Conservatorship In Australia?
We don't have conservatorship in Australia, but we do have guardianship. The concept of guardianship is much the same - the guardian is meant to assist those who are unable to assist themselves, usually due to disability or mental health issues. According to the NSW Trustee & Guardian government site, "a person may need a guardian if they have trouble making healthcare, lifestyle and medical decisions on their own because of a decision-making disability."
Read more about guardianship on the NSW Trustee & Guardian site here.