What do Brian Wilson, Britney Spears, and Cher all have in common?  The conservatorship process!

Besides all being musicians, they all are familiar with the conservatorship process.  Brian Wilson is currently under conservatorship, Britney Spears was previously under conservatorship, and Cher has filed for conservatorship over her son.  A conservatorship is the legal process in the probate court that allows someone to make financial decisions for a loved one that is unable to manage their own finances or is unable to resist fraud or undue influence.  There is a similar process that allows people to make medical decisions for their loved ones, which depending on where you live may be called a conservatorship over the person or a guardianship.  Both conservatorships and guardianships are last resorts since you are in the probate court system, which is public and can be burdensome.

What led to Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson needing a conservatorship?

Eighty-one year old Wilson’s mental decline led to his conservatorship.  According to his doctor, Wilson has a “major neurocognitive disorder”, is taking medication for dementia, and is unable to provide for his own personal needs.  Wilson’s wife was caring for him, but when she passed away, a conservatorship was filed to help him with his medical decisions.  Because Wilson has a trust in place, a financial conservatorship wasn’t necessary.  His publicist and manager were appointed as his conservators.  Sometimes individuals do not consent to a conservatorship, but in this case Wilson did which makes the process less complicated.

How does this compare to Britney Spears’ conservatorship?

Britney’s case was more unusual because conservatorships are generally used for individuals who are older or have dementia, or for individuals who are developmentally disabled or have special needs.  In Britney’s case, it appeared to be was used because she was “out of control”.   I spoke with the BBC radio about that here.  We also saw this with actress Amanda Bynes. (We wrote about this for Forbes here).  Britney was subject to both a conservatorship over her person and her estate. The conservatorship took away many of Britney’s rights and it definitely was an extreme measure, especially given the fact that it went on for 13 years.  This led to the Free Britney movement, and Britney’s conservatorship was eventually terminated.  More on this here.  At this point in time, however, there have been new concerns over Britney’s well-being based on recent events, including an incident at the Chateau Marmont.  This is in addition to previous concerns over her social media accounts where she was seen dancing with knives as well as multiple photos of her partially dressed.  There have been reports that people within Britney’s inner circle have significant concerns not only with her physical well-being, but her spending habits as she has reportedly dropped as much as $1 million on multiple trips.

Why did Cher file for conservatorship over her son, Elijah Blue Allman?

Cher stated in her conservatorship petition that her 47 year old son’s large trust funds from his late father are endangering him because of his struggles with substance abuse and mental health issues.  Before filing the conservatorship petition, Cher’s son had been placed on multiple involuntary hospital holds.  Cher felt that his life was at risk and was advised by doctors that if she didn’t act that he could end up on the street again.  While this isn’t as common as it is for elderly people like Wilson, conservatorships to help loved ones with addiction problems and mental health issues do happen when families run out of other options.  In this case, the judge didn’t approve the temporary conservatorship that Cher was seeking earlier this year.  However, the hearing for the full conservatorship that was set for June has been postponed as Cher and her son are trying to mediate this privately.

Where can people go for help with conservatorships?

You want to work with a good probate attorney, especially is someone isn’t consenting to the conservatorship or guardianship.  If you or your loved one live in Michigan or Florida, we can help.  Just email us at

Danielle and Andy Mayoras are co-authors of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights!, legal media experts, and keynote speakers.  You can find them on Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.  For all of the latest legal news, be sure to check out their blog.





    Danielle Mayoras is an on-camera legal expert, attorney, author, and keynote speaker. As a respected media source, she has lent her expertise and analysis to hundreds of media sources, including The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, People, Forbes, Kiplinger, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, among many others. She has appeared on Access Hollywood, the Rachael Ray Show, The Insider, CNN, CNN International, NBC Nightly News, Forbes, The Hallmark Channel, ABC’s Live Well Network, CBS, FOX, PBS, and NBC affiliates. Danielle also serves as a legal analyst for CBS News Detroit.

    In addition to co-authoring the best-selling book Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, Danielle has been a contributor to Forbes and other outlets. Danielle has also appeared as a TV host and legal expert on multiple celebrity documentaries for the REELZ Channel. When not doing media, Danielle helps clients in her thriving law firm and serves as a keynote speaker delighting audiences across the country.