Since 2008, pop singer Britney Spears has been under a court-ordered guardianship, and her father has served as the guardian to manage her substantial fortune. The guardianship case was initiated after Britney’s highly-publicized mental breakdowns. At the time, the guardianship court found that Britney was unable to manage her own finances, and the court appointed Britney’s father to protect her interests.
In August 2020, Britney filed a request with the guardianship court to remove her father as the guardian and replace him with a professional financial advisor. In media reports, the request states that the change is sought as a result of changes in Britney’s life and circumstances. The reports also opine that Britney’s father is likely to oppose the request.
In Texas, the courts will appoint a guardian for someone when that person is unable to make their own medical and/or financial decisions. When a guardian is appointed, the guardian basically steps into the shoes of the person for whom they are the guardian. The guardian has the right to make all of the decisions for their ward, but their decisions are constrained by the Court’s oversight and guidance. The guardian is required to account for all money that they spend each year, and the guardian must post a bond to protect the assets of the estate from theft or misuse.
In Texas, the removal of a guardian requires that the guardian must have grossly mismanaged the assets, or taken some other bad action that would justify removal. A removal is not available simply because of changed circumstances.
As Britney Spears and her father are finding out, a guardianship case is complex and difficult. If you find yourself involved in a complex guardianship case, the attorneys at Ford + Bergner LLP can represent you. Please contact us if we can help.