When a person is no longer able to appropriately manage their own finances or make major life decisions on their own behalf a Florida court may determine that a guardianship or conservatorship is in order. This allows an agency or person to act as their guardian and act on behalf the incapacitated to ensure that their interests and well-being are protected.

In many instances, conservatorships are used in cases where an elderly person is no longer able to adequately care for themselves. But in some cases the process is used when a younger individual is deemed to be incapable of caring for themselves. This week Britney Spears’ fiancé was named as her co-conservator along with Spears’ father. Her father has served as her conservator since 2008 after the singer’s highly publicized breakdown.

Fortunately there are various guardianship or conservatorship arrangements which can be applied by the court based on the need of a specific situation. In the case of Britney Spears and her fiancé’s co-conservatorship, the fiancé will not have control over Spears’ significant financial assets, but instead will have power to act on her behalf to promote her wellbeing. Control over her finances will remain with her father. News reports indicate that Spears still enjoys a wide scope of personal freedoms.

This situation allowed for a fairly deliberate decision to add the fiancé as a co-conservator. Unfortunately in many cases in which an elderly Florida resident requires a conservatorship to protect themselves and their interest, it is either due to some unexpected health issue or not sought out until the potential ward is already past the point of being able to make decisions for themselves. Ideally plans for how this situation will be handled should be in place before they are needed.