As you might be aware, it is still very difficult for the public to obtain information about the proceedings in the Spears conservatorship. That fact is unusual as the general rule is that court proceedings are supposed to be, and are required to be open to the public, unless there is very good reason for some, or all, of the proceeding to not be open. Court proceedings are open to the public unless the Court makes a ruling otherwise. But, again, the presumption and legal principle that a court proceeding will be open to the public is very strong.
My understanding, based on what I have been able to read, is that following the February 11, hearing, Bessemer Trust and Jamie Spears remain as co-conservators of the estate, apparently with equal shared powers and authority. And that Jodi Montgomery remains as the conservator of the person.
This conservatorship is an ongoing saga. Current primary issues appear to include at least the following:
Will the conservatorship of the estate continue as it is, or be modified, or be terminated?
Will Jamie Spears continue as co-conservator of the estate as it is, or will his powers and authorities be modified, or will his appointment as co-conservator of the estate be terminated?
How will Bessemer Trust and Jamie Spears be able to work together as co-conservators of the estate? Will they be able to work together?
How much weight will the Court give to the requests for changes in the conservatorship that are being made by Britney Spears?
Will any of the issues and orders at the trial Court level be taken up on appeal?
And, perhaps, will the conservatorship of the person continue as it is, or be modified, or be terminated?
The following are a few additional observations:
Generally, conservators are required to communicate with the conservatee and to ask her about her wishes on important matters. However, that doesn’t bind the conservator to the conservatee’s wishes. The Court also should take the conservatee’s wishes into consideration.
Less restrictive options to the conservatorship and to the terms of the conservatorship must be taken into consideration by the Court and the parties. A conservatorship is a restriction on the rights of the conservatee.
On some issues the conservatee is entitled to a jury trial. Otherwise, the Judge has very significant authority to decide issues in a conservatorship, but those decisions must be made based on and in accordance with the applicable laws, the various burdens of poof that might apply, the standards of decision making that might apply (e.g., preponderance of the evidence or some higher standard), and the evidence.
Unless the court orders otherwise, if two co-conservators are ordered, the two co-conservators both must “concur” to exercise a power. Cal. Probate Code §2105. Other than whether either or both of the conservatorships of the estate and of the person will continue, or be modified, or be terminated, I would view the interactions between Bessemer Trust and Jamie Spears as probably being the most difficult and pressing issue. News reports indicate or suggest that there are ongoing disagreements over co-conservator scope of authority and possibly co-conservator decision making and ability to agree. Disagreements of those types could prompt the Court to make changes to its co-conservator order. See, e.g., Cal. Probate Code §§2105.5, and Chapter 9 including §2650, in addition to other Probate Code sections.
Best to you. David Tate, Esq.
Remember, every case and situation is different. It is important to obtain and evaluate all of the evidence that is available, and to apply that evidence to the applicable standards and laws. You do need to consult with an attorney and other professionals about your particular situation. This post is not a solicitation for legal or other services inside of or outside of California, and, of course, this post only is a summary of information that changes from time to time, and does not apply to any particular situation or to your specific situation. So . . . you cannot rely on this post for your situation or as legal or other professional advice or representation.
Thank you for reading this post. I ask that you also pass it along to other people who would be interested as it is through collaboration that great things and success occur more quickly. And please also subscribe to this blog and my other blog (see below), and connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Best to you, David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing in California only
Litigation, Disputes, Mediator & Governance: Business, Trust/Probate, Real Property, Governance, Elder Abuse, Investigations, Other Areas
Blogs: Trust, estate/probate, power of attorney, conservatorship, elder and dependent adult abuse, nursing home and care, disability, discrimination, personal injury, responsibilities and rights, and other related litigation, and contentious administrations http://californiaestatetrust.com
Business, D&O, board, director, audit committee, shareholder, founder, owner, and investor litigation, governance and governance committee, responsibilities and rights, compliance, investigations, and risk management http://auditcommitteeupdate.com
My law practice primarily involves the following areas and issues:
Trust, Estate, Probate Court, Elder and Dependent Adult, and Disability Disputes and Litigation
- Trust and estate disputes and litigation, and contentious administrations representing fiduciaries, beneficiaries and families; elder abuse; power of attorney disputes; elder care and nursing home abuse; conservatorships; claims to real and personal property; and other related disputes and litigation.
Business, Business-Related, and Workplace Disputes and Litigation: Private, Closely Held, and Family Businesses; Public Companies; Nonprofit Entities; and Governmental Entities
- Business v. business disputes including breach of contract; unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices; fraud, deceit and misrepresentation; unfair competition; licensing agreements, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; etc.
- Misappropriation of trade secrets.
- M&A disputes.
- Founder, officer, director and board, investor, shareholder, creditor, VC, control, governance, decision making, fiduciary duty, conflict of interest, independence, voting, etc., disputes.
- Buy-sell disputes.
- Funding and share dilution disputes.
- Accounting, lost profits, and royalty disputes and damages.
- Insurance coverage and bad faith.
- Access to corporate and business records disputes.
- Employee, employer and workplace disputes and processes, discrimination, whistleblower and retaliation, harassment, defamation, etc.
Investigations, Governance, and Responsibilities and Rights
- Corporate, business, nonprofit and governmental internal investigations.
- Board, audit committee, governance committee, and special committee governance and processes, disputes, conflicts of interest, independence, culture, ethics, etc.; and advising audit committees, governance committees, officers, directors, and boards.
Mediator Services and Dispute Resolution
* * * * *