If competent for court testimony, does Britney Spears need a conservatorship?

The Daily Mail is reporting on a new legal issue surrounding Britney Spears – one which could bring into question the continuation of her conservatorship.

Here’s the deal.  Former Spears manager Sam Lufti is suing Lynne Spears for defamation over a tell-all memoir in which the pop star’s mother claimed Lufti drugged Britney and harassed her after the star’s breakdown.  Other reports claim Lufti additionally cut off her family communications and restricted her movements.

Lufti claims the allegations are false and has requested Britney to testify.  In response to Spears’ parents position that she’s “mentally incapable” of testifying, Lufti had UCLA Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Joshua Pretsky analyze a recent video interview with Britney.  Pretsky concluded that Britney is competent to testify and demonstrated evidence of  “coherent and logical thinking, responsiveness to questions, and mental competence.”

Reports reflect stability having returned to Britney’s life.  Public appearances seem to largely echo this perception.  She’s regained custody of her two sons and none of the parties involved seem troubled with committing her to a new – likely lucrative – world tour.  Sounds like a lot of responsibility yet with no individual or civil rights.

The growing use of probate courts and legal instruments like a conservatorship (called guardianship in many states) to create a new class of right-less Americans is troubling.  It happens more frequently than people realize and it  impacts a wide range of ages and income levels.  Read the Estate of Denial™ column Adult guardianships: how the probate system trumps “unalienable rights” to learn more.

With that, if a court orders another psychiatric evaluation that mirrors Pretsky’s findings, would this new finding support continuation of the conservatorship?

In this case, that’s far more than a million dollar question.  Stay tuned.

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