What Britney Spears Teaches Us About Conservatorships In America

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#FreeBritney activists protest outside Courthouse in Los Angeles. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
#FreeBritney activists protest outside Courthouse in Los Angeles. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Britney Spears' star power was obvious early.

By 18, she had two of the top-selling albums in the world. But since 2008, her father and a lawyer have had complete authority over her life and her body.

Last week, she told a judge she’s had enough.

Today, On Point: How conservatorships are supposed to work, and what happens when they go wrong.


Lisa MacCarley, probate and conservatorship attorney practicing in LA county. She has been working with the #FreeBritney movement since 2020. (@LisaMaccarley)

Dr. Sam Sugar, founder of South Florida Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianships, a non-profit. Author of "Guardianships and the Elderly."

Patricia Keane Martin, partner and probate and elder law attorney at the law firm Seegel Lipshutz Lo & Martin.

From The Reading List

The Guardian: "Britney Spears wants out of her conservatorship. Experts say a long fight could lie ahead" — "Britney Spears could remain stuck in her conservatorship for months or years, experts say, despite her detailed and disturbing testimony describing the legal arrangement as “abusive” and harmful."

ABC10: "Conservatorships in California: Everything you need to know | The Price of Care" — "As ABC10's year-long investigation shines a light on the fiduciary and conservatorship system in California, as well as its lack of oversight, we want to ensure this series both educates viewers on how conservatorships work, as well as help people protect themselves and their loved ones."

This program aired on July 1, 2021.


Stefano Kotsonis Senior Producer, On Point
Stefano Kotsonis is a senior producer for WBUR's On Point.


Meghna Chakrabarti Host, On Point
Meghna Chakrabarti is the host of On Point.



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