Posts Tagged ‘power of attorney’

What You Can Learn About Estate Planning From Britney Spears

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

You probably can’t imagine how the case of a multi-millionaire, fallen from grace pop star could have any application at all to you.

Well, you might be surprised to know that Britney’s case has a lot of lessons for all of us, no matter how much money we have in the bank.

The other day I told you that Britney’s dad had been appointed as conservator of her person and co-conservator of her estate, which means dad’s now in control of what Britney can do, who she can see, and he’s controlling all access to her bank accounts and credit cards.

Well, apparently, over the weekend, Britney attempted to hire her own lawyer (Andrew Streisand) to fight her dad’s attempt to take over her personal and financial affairs.

But, the Court refused to recognize Streisand as Britney’s lawyer because the court-appointed lawyer assigned to evaluate Britney said that Brit doesn’t have capacity right now to hire her own lawyer at this point.

So, she’s out of luck.

For the life of me, I can’t imagine why Britney didn’t have a relationship with her own personal lawyer before now, but apparently she didn’t. You’d think that someone with her wealth would have a Will, a Trust, Health Care Directives, Powers of Attorney, Guardian Nominations … basically a comprehensive estate plan to protect her kids and her money.

And you’d also think that her estate planning would have been handled by her personal lawyer.

Guess not!

If it had, her lawyer would have had standing to appear on her behalf in Court today. But, because she didn’t, there’s no one representing what Britney wants in this whole fiasco.

How is this applicable to you?

Because it highlights how important it is for you to have a relationship with a personal lawyer before you need it.

By the time you need a relationship with a lawyer, it’s often too late. You are in a crisis situation and beginning a relationship during a crisis is often either impossible or very costly.

Instead, if you begin a relationship with your personal lawyer while everything is good and right in your life, you and your family will have someone to call who knows you and what’s important to you during that crisis situation.

One day you’ll need a lawyer, I don’t know when and I don’t know why, but when you do, you’ll be so grateful to have a relationship with your own personal lawyer.

It’s too late now for Britney, but it’s not too late for you … today having a personal lawyer is both accessible and affordable and if you own your home, care about your family, and want a trusted advisor to call when you are in crisis, you can and should have one of your own.

© 2008 Alexis Martin Neely

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include everything in quotes with it: “Written by Alexis Martin Neely, mom, writer, speaker and Personal Family Lawyer. Alexis makes it super easy for your family to talk about and  plan for sticky subjects like money, death and taxes. Get Alexis’ humorous, enlightening, and often quite revealing “Wealth Secrets” at: www.FamilyWealthMatters.com.”

Britney Spears Grounded!

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Britney’s parents finally stepped in and took control of their out of control daughter’s future and she’s grounded until at least Monday. And, its about time!

Brit’s a perfect example of what happens when kids get control of big money too young and why you want to make sure you’ve set up your estate plan for your kids to make sure they never get outright control of the money you’ll leave behind for them too early.

Almost universally, when setting up trusts for their kids, my clients don’t give their kids the possibility of financial control over family wealth until they are over the age of 30 because they know what could happen when kids’ get control too soon.

The Spears’ family didn’t have that option because Britney earned her money, so the day she turned 18, Britney had no restriction on how to use her money. Less than 8 years later, she’s spiraled out of control and while she may have plenty of money left still, she may never get to enjoy it if she doesn’t learn the lessons her parents didn’t have the chance to teach her while she was busy becoming a superstar. I hope her parents will have the fortitude to get her back on track.

Yesterday, Brit’s dad took the first step by filing for conservatorship over Britney’s person and her estate.

What does this mean?

By being appointed as the conservator of Britney’s person, dad Jamie is given the right to control who gets to see her and where she goes, plus he can get access to her medical records and depending on the paperwork filed, he could also get the right to make medical decisions for her.

As co-conservator of her estate (with lawyer Andrew M. Wallett), Jamie now controls access to Britney’s credit cards and bank accounts.

Effectively, Jamie Spears is back in control of his daughter’s financial and physical well-being. He’s been given the legal authority to be a dad again and ground her.

The conservatorship is temporary until Monday, but I have to imagine it will extended. This is certainly a case where it’s needed.

Brit’s grounded for now and let’s hope that the Judge sees how much this girl needs her parents back in the driver’s seat for a while.

Don’t worry Brit, I was grounded for 3 months when I was 14 and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Your parents are doing this because they love you and as soon as you get that, you can start to turn your life around too. It’s not too late.

© 2008 Alexis Martin Neely

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include everything in quotes with it: “Written by Alexis Martin Neely, mom, writer, speaker and Personal Family Lawyer. Alexis makes it super easy for your family to talk about and  plan for sticky subjects like money, death and taxes. Get Alexis’ humorous, enlightening, and often quite revealing “Wealth Secrets” at: www.FamilyWealthMatters.com.”