Britney Spears’ conservatorship brings light to new Iowa law

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Fans of Britney Spears have been glued to the singer’s conservatorship battle in court, where she is fighting to regain control over her estate. 

Britney Spears alleges that the appointment is infringing on her basic rights. On June 23rd, Spears testified in court stating that over the last 13 years she has not had control over her $60 million estate, wasn’t allowed to get married or have more children, was required to take medication such as lithium, and was forced to work even though she expressed that she did not want to.  

A conservatorship is defined as a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization to care for another adult who cannot care for themselves or their own finances.

Every state has different laws surrounding conservatorships. According to a managing attorney at Iowa Legal Aid, Frank Tenuta, the state of Iowa’s laws were fairly loose, leaving many under conservatorships vulnerable. 

However, the state enacted a new law last year. Under this legislation, in order to appoint a conservatorship in Iowa:

  • The court must perform a statewide background check on proposed conservators. 
  • There must be a professional evaluation on who is to be the protected person. 
  • An adult respondent is always entitled to an attorney separate from their proposed conservator..

Tenuta has been helping Iowans fight against conservatorships for over 35 years. He said the biggest problem he sees is not the control over a person’s money but rather the control over a person’s rights. The managing attorney said he hopes Iowa will start to enforce more partial conservatorships. 

“If there is a need for it, it should not be you know it doesn’t have to be all or nothing,” Tenuta said.  “There are situations where there might be a need for something, but we don’t need to control every aspect of the person’s life. Let them make as much of their own decisions as they possibly can safely do.” 

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