What Does This Bill Have to do With Britney Spears?
Britney Spears was in a probate conservatorship for 13 years. For most of that time, she didn’t know that she could ask the court to end the conservatorship. She has described how harmful and controlling the conservatorship felt to her – that she wanted to get out, but didn’t even have a way to tell the court, let alone a way to actually end her conservatorship.
While Britney’s talent and fame are unique, her experience in conservatorship, sadly, is not. This bill would change many of the problems in the probate conservatorship system that kept Britney trapped for so long. Britney is free, but many others are not, and this bill is trying to expand protections and alternatives for others in or at risk of conservatorship.
If AB 1663 had been the law, how would it have helped Britney?
- Britney would likely have never been put into a probate conservatorship in the first place. The judge would have been required to consider, and Britney’s father would have been required to show, how alternatives to conservatorship could have been used instead of her losing her rights. The judge would have had to consider Britney’s ability to make decisions with support before putting her into a conservatorship.
- Britney would have been told about supported decision-making and other alternatives. The Conservatorship Alternatives Program would have provided Britney with information about SDM and she would have been directly counseled about how it could benefit her instead of conservatorship.
- Britney would have been provided information about her rights as a conservatee, including how to get out of her conservatorship. AB 1663 provides conservatees with understandable information that describes their rights and who to contact if they wish to change or end the conservatorship.
- Britney would have been asked directly by a court investigator if she wanted her conservatorship to end and they would have been required to set up an immediate hearing about exiting her conservatorship. The bill requires courts to appoint a lawyer and set a termination hearing if a conservatee requests to terminate their conservatorship.
- Britney’s conservator would have been required to consult with her about every decision made and abide by her wishes. AB 1663 requires conservators to consult with the conservatee and make decisions aligned with their communicated wishes, including the use of alternative communication methods or previously expressed preferences. It also requires conservators to support the capacity and abilities of conservatees. Finally, AB 1663 makes conservators encourage and facilitate the use of supported decision-making within conservatorships to the greatest extent possible.
Britney’s Attorney Matt Rosengart
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