The case of Britney Spears and her father/Conservator has been highly publicised over the last few months, as disputes as to the singer's mental capacity to manage her own affairs rumble on.
The American system of Conservatorship is similar in principle to a UK Court of Protection Deputyship appointment - although the legal systems and levels of control appear to be significantly different, with the UK system limiting its scope to only those decisions a person is unable to make themselves, at a particular time, and based on an ongoing particular time and decision specific capacity assessment and therefore, on the face of it at least, being significantly less intrusive that the American Conservator system.
A key development today is Mr Spears' decision to step down from his role and consider the wishes Britney has expressed for some time. This does not end the Conservator control over her life, but is a step towards more control and influence for Britney in her own affairs.
For many of us, the thought of losing our ability to make decisions - and then someone else being in charge of decision making - is something we would prefer not to think about. We all want autonomy over our personal affairs and choices. However, illness, injury or a degenerative condition could all mean that is not practical for us to manage all of our financial or healthcare decisions at all points in our future.
In the UK, the best way to ensure that your wishes and feelings are protected, and that a person or ideally people, that you trust to make such decisions for you if it were necessary, is through appointing an Attorney under the terms of a Lasting Power of Attorney. You can do so in relation to financial and/or healthcare decision making.
They are such useful documents, offering peace of mind - or as I say, an insurance policy - for your future decision making and ensuring your needs are met by those best able to do so and most likely to respect your wishes.
If you would like more information about making your lasting powers of attorney, please contact me or my colleagues and we'll be happy to discuss this with you. 0121 214 3671 firstname.lastname@example.org
Britney Spears' father has agreed to step down as the singer's conservator after 13 years The singer's career has been in the hands of legal guardians since public concerns over her mental health in 2008. The court-ordered agreement gave her father Jamie control over her estate and other aspects of her life. But she later sought to remove him from the role, calling for him to be charged with "conservatorship abuse".