Conservatorship made permanent

Source: Reuters

On October 28, 2008, Commissioner Reva Goetz approved of permanently conserving Britney Spears under the control of her father, Jamie Spears, and attorney Andrew Wallet. Britney did not appear in court and her court-appointed attorney, Samuel Ingham, did not advocate against the ruling.

Goetz specified, "The conservatorship is necessary and appropriate for the complexity of financial and business entities and her being susceptible to undue influence.”


Source: California Courts In 2010, the California Administrative Offices of the Courts published a study on undue influence in conservatorships.

The report explains: "A conservator of the estate may be appointed for an individual who is 'substantially unable to manage his or her own financial resources or resist fraud or undue influence' (California Probate Code §1801(b) (2010)). And yet, there is no statutory definition of undue influence in the California Probate Code."

"In California, the definition of undue influence is contained in California Civil Code §1575, which was enacted in 1872, a date which calls into question its application in the 21st century."

This report ultimately determined that a clearer legal definition of "undue influence" in probate conservatorships was necessary because, "Claims of undue influence can be difficult to understand and prove, both because of the lack of a definition in the Probate Code and because it occurs behind closed doors without witnesses (McNaughton, 2002)."


Source: American Bar Association

In response to the above-referenced report, California probate statutes were updated in 2014 to include an explicit definition of "undue influence" in regards to conservatorships. A judge considers four factors when determining whether a person is susceptible to undue influence. An adverse mental health diagnosis is not necessary for labeling a person susceptible to undue influence. "In addition, all four [factors] are not required to determine if undue influence has occurred. In fact, a judge or jury could decide that undue influence has taken place where the four factors are not present. While this is not likely, it is possible because the new definition and factors merely requires that the judge or jury consider them."