Self-Advocacy Online Blog

Britney Spears and her “Hot Mess” Guardianship Situation

Britney Spears has been in the news a lot lately. She is in the middle of a legal battle to win back choice and control over her own life. Unfortunately, there are too many people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities who understand this battle far too well. If you are a person who is living with a disability and you are wondering about guardianship or conservatorship, here are some things you should know.

Guardianship and conservatorship are two different things.

Guardianship is when someone else has control over all or most of the important decisions in your life. Sometimes, people who have guardians are even told they cannot vote. In most states, the laws have changed, and this is no longer true.

Conservatorship is when someone else only has control over one or more important decisions in your life. One example of a conservatorship is a financial conservatorship. In this situation, someone else has control over how you spend your own money, but nothing else.

Guardianships and conservatorships are set up in court by a judge. If you are unhappy with who your guardian or conservator is, or the kinds of decisions this person makes for you, you can always go back to court and ask for changes.  It is a good idea to have a lawyer or a legal advocate from someplace like The Arc to talk to before going to court and to come along in case you need help.

You do not need a guardian just because you have a disability.

Many people assume that people with disabilities need a guardian because it might be harder for them to make certain types of decisions. This is not true. One other option is Supported Decision Making. This allows people to remain their own guardians and have a team of trusted family members or friends to assist them with certain decisions. This is a legal process that is recognized by the courts in most of the United States.

You deserve to have information about guardianship explained to you in a way that you understand. 

You should have a chance to ask questions if anything is confusing. You can have things read to you. You can get a lawyer who specializes in guardianship and conservatorship and knows the laws that may affect you the most.

We hope that Britney Spears wins her legal battle. We also hope that this case can help other people in similar situations make their own choices about their lives. People living with disabilities have rights. If Britney Spears didn’t know what her rights are, then it’s probably true that other people could use a refresher as well.