What is a conservatorship and what does it mean for your money?

Britney Spears visited Target 80 times in 2018

Britney Spears made 80 trips to Target in one year.

"Conservatorship" is a buzzword right now considering the drama surrounding Britney Spears and her father Jamie Spears. 

While scuffles over finances are nothing new when it comes to stars and their families, the case begs the question: What exactly is a conservatorship?

Essentially, a conservatorship exists when a guardian of sorts — known as a conservator — is appointed to oversee the financial affairs, and sometimes daily life, of another person, the conservatee.

They are put in place in the courts due to someone's inability to oversee their affairs themselves, be it because of disability, age or something else entirely.

BRITNEY SPEARS CONSERVATORSHIP: A LOOK AT THE DRAMA AFTER HER FATHER REQUESTS TO TEMPORARILY STOP MANAGING HER MONEY

Britney Spears is currently under a conservatorship in California. (Digital composition with images from Getty Images)

Corporations and organizations, such as banks, can also serve as conservators.

In Spears' case, her father has served as conservator for the majority of the time she's been under the conservatorship, which began in 2008 after the performer underwent a series of involuntary holds. He stepped down temporarily in 2019 and the singer's care manager, Jodi Montgomery, temporarily took over.

In November 2020, a judge declined to suspend Jamie from his role as conservator despite requests from the pop star that he be blocked. Furthermore, the star's attorney alleged that Spears is "afraid of her father" and "will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career."

BRITNEY SPEARS IS 'STRONGLY OPPOSED' TO HER FATHER RETURNING AS SOLE CONSERVATOR: REPORT

The pop star has since spoken out in great detail about the alleged "abusive" nature of her conservatorship. In a June 23 hearing in Los Angeles, Spears claimed her father stood idle while she was made to look incompetent and added that he was responsible for making all of her life decisions.

"My family didn’t do a God d–m thing," she said in court "Anything I had to do, [my dad] was the one who approved all of it. My whole family did nothing."

Spears stated that she wants her conservatorship to end immediately. "It’s not OK to force me to do anything I don’t want to," Spears said. "The conservatorship should end. I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive."

Britney Spears performs in 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic / Getty Images)

The singer has since been able to hire her own attorney, Mathew Rosengart. In September, he filed documents in Los Angeles Superior Court asking for her conservatorship to end this fall and without the need for Spears to have to undergo mental health or medical evaluations. He also pointed to her father's alleged inexperience prior to taking over the star's estate years ago.

BRITNEY SPEARS' FATHER ALLEGEDLY MONITORED HER TEXTS AND CALLS 'FOR HER PROTECTION'

In a court filing dated Monday, Sept. 27, Jamie argued that Rosengart's request to appoint John Zabel to replace him as conservator "should be denied." He and his legal team also claimed there's no need for a replacement because he currently still holds the position.

Jamie did file a request saying he is willing to step down as her sole conservator when the time was "right" and a "smooth transition" could occur.

A TIMELINE OF BRITNEY SPEARS' CONSERVATORSHIP

According to Forbes, conservatorships like Spears' can place strict limitations on the conservatee, including whether or not they can get married or even drive a car.

In fact, a conservatorship is a relatively rare move for the courts to make considering the harsh restrictions that can be placed on the conservatee. It's most often used in the case of aging adults suffering from dementia and the like, the outlet reports.

In November 2020, a judge declined to suspend Spears’ father, Jamie, from his role as conservator despite requests from the pop star that he be blocked. (Photo by J. Merritt/Getty Images for GLAAD)

In addition to such aspects of a conservatee's daily life, a conservator also can also oversee finances.

BRITNEY SPEARS EXPECTED TO MAKE REMARKS DURING CONSERVATORSHIP HEARING

In 2016, the New York Times reported that in Spears' case, "her most mundane purchases, from a drink at Starbucks to a song on iTunes, are tracked in court documents as part of the plan to safeguard the great fortune she has earned but does not ultimately control."

This is, of course, only one example, but it displays the depths to which a conservatorship can stretch, possibly leaving a conservatee all but cut off from their own finances.

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The Associated Press and Fox News' Melissa Roberto contributed to this report

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