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A Guardianship System in Need of Reform: Britney Spears Is Not Alone

A Guardianship System in Need of Reform: Britney Spears Is Not Alone


This program is two days only:

Part 1 – Wednesday, December 8 | 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

4.5 MCLE Credits (3.0 Areas of Professional Practice, 1.0 Diversity, Inclusion & Elimination of Bias; 0.5 Skills)

Part 2 – Wednesday, December 15 | 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

4.0 MCLE Credits (3.0 Areas of Professional Practice, 1.0 Ethics and Professionalism)

Public outcry towards Britney Spears’ conservatorship has prompted questions about the laws that permit the transfer of legal authority from one person to another and whether these laws actually protect the person. While conservatorship or guardianship laws are different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction they each rely upon the premise that the courts must intercede because a person needs its protection. The persons’ right to self-determination is often outweighed in favor of the desire to protect the person. In order to balance the scales many jurisdictions have built in additional due process protections including limiting the scope of the guardianship, ensuring right to counsel, shifting the burden and requiring higher standards for proof and notice and incorporating a restoration process. Yet, many jurisdictions, including New York, operate a guardianship system that does not offer these additional protections. Further, Ms. Spears’ conservatorship has shown that even where due process is offered it doesn’t ensure that the person’s voice is heard. 

Through this 2-day CLE, we will explore guardianship systems in New York State and how they hold up against the criticism being expressed by those that are following Britney Spears’ story. We will examine what it means to offer due process protections, such as right to counsel, right to a hearing, and notice as well as other alternatives to guardianship. We will also discuss the concerns raised by those subject to guardianships and the challenges they faced restoring their legal rights. Finally, we will examine the challenge to reforming these systems and alternative approaches being used to avoid the application of a guardianship.  

Start Date:
  • December 8, 2021
End Date:
  • December 15, 2021
Start Time:
  • 9:00 AM
End Time:
  • 12:30 PM
Areas Of Professional Practice Credit(s):
  • 6.0
Diversity, Inclusion & Elimination of Bias Credit(s):
  • 1.0
Ethics and Professionalism Credit(s):
  • 1.0
Skills Credit(s):
  • 0.5
Total Credit(s):
  • 8.5
  • Virtual Participation
  • Webinar
Product Code:
  • 0LL61
Section Member Price: $140.00
NYSBA Member Price: $175.00 Join (or renew) for special member pricing
Non-Member Price: $250.00
Sponsoring Committee Group
  • Elder Law & Special Needs Section
  • Committee on Disability Rights
  • Committee on Continuing Legal Education