One of the reasons a conservatorship should be avoided if possible is its high cost. Multi-million dollars conservatorship fees and costs incurred by Britney Spears underscores the high price of conservatorship. The conservatee, individual who is under court protection, pays all the fees and expenses. The high cost of a conservatorship is often attributed to fees of conservator(s) and attorneys. A conservatorship is often avoidable with early planning as explained in blog article Use Collaborative Practice To Prevent Elder Care And Financial Abuse.
A conservatorship requires a team of individuals comprised of at least a conservator, conservator’s attorney, court investigator, and conservatee’s attorney. The extent of each person’s involvement is dependent upon services required by the conservatee and the conservatee’s family dynamics.
A conservator is appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of the conservatee. A conservator can be a family member who serves with or without compensation, or a professional person known as professional fiduciary who expects to be compensated. Get a glimpse into services for which a conservator is compensated from these blog articles California’s Proposed Conservatorship Law Requiring Court Order To Manage Visitation Is Costly To Conservatees and Conservator Charged Thousand$$$ In Fees For Errands.
In Britney Spears’ conservatorship, there are two conservators and each is compensated thousands a month, according to news article Britney Spears Conservatorship: Father Wants More Money To Control Her Finances and Britney’s Co-Conservator to be paid $426,000. A monthly conservator fee for a non-celebrity conservatee ranges from few hundreds to thousands. Conservator’s fees and costs are paid from the conservatee’s assets.
Conservatorship laws are complex and a conservator can be personally liable for failing to comply with the laws. Ignorance of the law does not protect a conservator from liability. Most conservators, therefore, seek attorney’s advice to navigate through the complex conservatorship laws. A conservator may have more than one attorney depending on the challenges of each conservatorship. Moreover, under certain circumstances, the court appoints an attorney to represent the conservatee. Attorneys, of course, expect to be compensated for their services.
Britney Spears paid at least $400,000 in attorney fees and costs in the first few months of her conservatorship and the fees and costs increased to more than $2.7 millions in the first 14 months, according to news articles Britney Spears Ordered To Pay Lawyers Nearly $400,000: Report and Britney Spears Legal Bills Top $2.7M Under Dad’s Conservatorship.
Again, advance planning prevents a conservatorship and saves money.