Britney Spears has recently been making headlines as she goes to court to battle the conservatorship she has been placed under. While many are familiar with her situation, it’s still shocking to hear that the conservatorship has been in place for 13 years and during this time Britney has released multiple albums, put on a worldwide concert tour, and performed nightly for years in her record breaking Las Vegas residency. So how did someone who was so clearly able to work and do her job well, become victim to a conservatorship in which all of her decision making rights were taken away? The scary thing is that this can happen to anyone, not just the super wealthy. 

Britney Spears’s Conservatorship Can Happen To Anyone

We previously wrote about the hit Netflix film “I Care a Lot”, which showcased a guardianship scam that unfortunately has happened to real people and can also happen to anybody. Now in Britney’s case, in 2008 she suffered a very public mental health break in which her family stepped in to supposedly get her any help she needed. But after Britney was able to prove she could work and seemingly care for herself, why were her affairs still in the control of her father and a third party conservator? This is what she is now battling in court as she tries to reclaim her name, her fortune, and her life. 

As Britney’s case and the guardianship scams have proved, this can happen to anyone. So what can you do to protect yourself? Have an estate plan with the right documents. If you are ahead of the game and have a plan in which you have named guardians or a chain of command of who would be in charge of your affairs if something were to happen to you, then you can protect yourself from any outsiders looking to make their way in and stake claim in your assets. 

How to Use Your Estate Plan to Protect Yourself

  • Establish a Trust– A trust has so many benefits regarding protecting your assets. A trust places your assets into the name of the trust, but gives you access throughout your lifetime and also allows you to establish your choices for who would be in control of your estate if something were to happen to you. 
  • Power of Attorney– Having a Power of Attorney established for both your financial affairs and your healthcare decisions is vital in protecting your estate. With these documents you are naming someone you trust to be in charge and it’s rare that someone with ill intentions would be able to gain access to be a decision maker in your affairs or be able to potentially steal your assets. 
  • Living Will and HIPAA– A Living Will establishes your healthcare wishes should you be unable to advocate for yourself. If you were to become incapacitated, this document will list your main decisions for your healthcare and provide a guide to your healthcare Power of Attorney. Make sure you have a HIPAA form as well to distinguish who your medical information may be released to.

While the majority of us may never know all that Britney has been through, we can all use an estate plan regardless of our wealth. Protect yourself from potentially losing what you have at the hand of someone else. Always consult with an estate planning professional in your area, as laws differ by state. If you are in Illinois or Wisconsin, we can help you make sure you are protected and craft a plan to your needs.  Contact us with questions or to learn how to get started. 

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Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.