As you all probably know, singer Britney Spears is contesting her father’s role as executor of her estate. I obviously don’t even need a cite.
My question: what exactly is wrong with her to begin with? Is she mentally ill? Mentally retarded? Autistic? None of the sources I read or see seem to go into much detail about this, and remain rather vague.
Technicality: her father is her conservator, not executor.
He’s been so since 2008; if one reads about Spears’ behavior in 2007 and 2008, she was engaging in some strange and/or unsafe behavior, was in and out of several treatment programs for substance abuse, lost custody of her children, and wound up, at least briefly, under an involuntary psychiatric hold. In addition, she was in a psychiatric facility for a time in 2019, which may not have been a voluntary choice on her part.
Complete WAG follows:
She has never struck me as particularly bright (though that doesn’t necessarily make her any different from a lot of people). She’s had issues with substance abuse in the past, and it seems likely that she has some level of psychatric issues.
Another WAG: she achieved massive international fame by age 18. You either have to be remarkably levelheaded yourself or have a very good support network to deal with suddenly achieving lots of money, fame and pressure at that age without going off the rails, and I suspect neither of those apply here.
A conservatorship is (at least in legal theory) not appointed because of anything specifically “wrong” with the person. You can have a psychiatric diagnosis and it doesn’t remove your rights to manage your own affairs. We’ve even finally won the right to refuse medication when we’re involuntarily committed and locked up (although getting that right enforced is a different story).
You get a conservator as a consequence of being found to be incompetent — unable to make decisions. It isn’t a medical diagnosis. It is a civil legal determination.
Under ideal circumstances Britney Spears (or a person in her circumstances) gets an attorney who in turn has her tested and then presents her in court to claim she is at this point able to decide for herself. It should not be necessary (or relevant) to contend with questions of her medical diagnosis to do so.
I was listening to NPR earlier this afternoon, and they were talking about Spears and this situation. They had an expert talking about conservatorships, and he said that it was extremely uncommon for anyone to try to get out from under a conservatorship, because conservatorships are nearly always done for people who are truly mentally incapable of running their everyday lives, and such situations don’t “get better” very often.
I’m willing to give the original judge who imposed the convervatorship the benefit of the doubt, and assume that she needed supervision then. But the people who are profiting from the situation have a vested interest in fighting to keep the situation from changing, and I am not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
I don’t do much guardian/conservator law, but my understanding is that being a little goofy, a drug addict, or very irresponsible is simply not a reason to control someone. Nor is anxiety, depression, ADHD, or bipolar. Hey, it’s a free country (I mean if you get caught with the drugs then you have to deal with the criminal justice system) and you don’t have to live under the way someone else thinks you should. If you have $10 million in the bank and want to piss it away in the casino tonight, well, then it’s your money, go for it!
Even if she is suicidal, I could see a reason why she should be committed for that, but how is she “unable” to manage her money? That seems very odd to me.