Britney Spears has been under a conservatorship since 2008 following a very public breakdown. Since then, her father has been in control of her finances, health, personal life, and business deals. After Britney took legal action in 2021 and a worldwide movement to #freebritney gained momentum, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny granted Britney’s request to immediately suspend her father as the conservator of her estate.
This is not just a pop-culture story that has dominated the media, it’s also a reminder about the importance of appointing someone you trust to make decisions for you, in the unfortunate event that you are unable to.
Does Australia have conservatorships?
A conservatorship is a legal appointment of a conservator to manage your financial and personal affairs if you become incapable of managing them yourself. This could be due to old age or a temporary illness or injury.
Australia does not have conservatorships. However, each State and Territory have laws relating to financial management and guardianship. In New South Wales the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) is able to appoint someone as a financial manager or guardian of an adult who does not have capacity to manage their own affairs. If that person has no friends or family who are willing or able to act as a guardian or financial manager, NCAT can appoint the NSW Trustee and Guardian.
What can you do now?
If you have capacity, you can talk to your lawyer and appoint an enduring power of attorney and enduring guardian today. This means you can appoint someone who will act in your best interests to make financial, health, and personal decisions for you if there comes a time when you are unable to. Your enduring attorney and guardian appointed from these documents will be able to act right away if you lose capacity and the court or tribunal will not need to intervene.
If you would like more information about enduring guardianships or enduring powers of attorney, feel free to read the blog post titled “Do I need an Enduring Guardian and an Enduring Power of Attorney?” or get in contact with one of our experienced estate planning lawyers at Frank Law on (02) 9688 6023.
This is not legal advice.