In July, Sherry Lueders wrote about the saga of Britney Spears’s conservatorship. Unfortunately, rather than drawing to a close, the drama has continued to build around this case. According to the Los Angeles Times, although Britney Spears’s father, Jamie Spears, has agreed to step down as her conservator, the devil is in the details. In reality, Jamie Spears argues that he should continue serving as the conservator until the 2019 accounting is wrapped up – a prospect that could take considerable time. Meanwhile, “Jamie Spears has been getting $16,000 a month since 2009, plus monthly office costs and a percentage of the gross revenues from Britney Spears’ tours and multiyear Las Vegas residency.”
In Washington, pursuant to the current statutory scheme which will be effective through 2021, RCW 11.92.180 states, “A guardian or limited guardian shall be allowed such compensation for his or her services as guardian or limited guardian as the court shall deem just and reasonable.” This statute resembles Washington’s statute for compensating personal representatives, RCW 11.48.200, which also employs a “just and reasonable” standard. It is highly doubtful that a Washington court would allow a guardian, as a fiduciary, to receive $192,000 in annual compensation along with a profitable revenue sharing arrangement.
As a result of the Britney Spears controversy, a variety of state and federal legislative efforts are underway to reform the guardianship and conservatorship process. Of particular interest, “Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bob Casey, D-Pa., have asked the Biden Justice and Health and Human Services departments about what systems exist to collect information on guardianship demographics, complaints and other data. Casey also plans to reintroduce a bill in September that would create an online database of guardianship information, including best practices, training materials and a compilation of state laws.” Gathering information about guardianship issues is a logical first step in determining the types of reform that might prove most effective.
As Sherry Lueders stated in her July post, “People may be able to avoid ever being subject to a guardianship or conservatorship simply by including a General Durable Power of Attorney and a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions in their estate plan, nominating agents who will handle their financial and personal affairs should they become incapacitated.”
If you need assistance in establishing powers of attorney, please let us know. We’d be happy to help.
This post is for informational purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be used or relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting with an attorney.