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Can you imagine people taking your money with you being unable to do anything about it?

Can you imagine working to support yourself and your family? Now imagine that your paycheck goes directly into a trust account to which you have no access. Only others, who didn't go to work to earn that money that you earned, have access to your money. When you want money, you have to ask the others for permission --FOR YOUR OWN MONEY.

Now imagine that the family members who have access to your money take big chunks of it out every month and you can't do anything to keep that from happening. You have a lawyer, but the lawyer is someone you didn't choose. The lawyer doesn't care about you. The lawyer gets a big chunk of your money every month too. The lawyer has no incentive to help you end this madness because if this situation ends, and you take control of your money, the lawyer stops getting paid. What car or house is your money buying for that lawyer?

Your family doesn't want the free flow of your money to stop. Your lawyer doesn't want the free flow of your money to stop. You try to fire the lawyer. No can do. The court says you aren’t allowed to fire the lawyer. You find out from a judge that your family cannot be "fired" from accessing the big check they get from you every month. You want to scream, cry, and hit something, but guess what? If you do that, the judge will think you're crazy, and you’ll never get out from under the conservatorship. You can’t show your real feelings. What can you do?

Maybe you could just quit working so there isn't a flow of money coming in. But NO! You're not allowed to quit working. You are told that you have to go to work. And your work is strenuous. It's harder than anyone realizes. What do they know about it anyway? You're the one working like a dog so that everyone who has their hands in your bank account can keep getting paid. Are you just supposed to work until you drop?

This scenario sounds like imprisonment, slavery, indentured servitude. This doesn't happen in the good Ole US of A, you say. But it does! This is the life of Britney Spears, and it has been going on for 13 years.

She's voiced her concern, she's complained and cried about the unfairness of it all, and she's pleaded with a judge to be free of the conservatorship that has imprisoned her for the past 13 years, but as of today, others still control her money, her life, her ability to make life decisions like getting married, having a baby, deciding whether or not she wants to work, and her prerogative to start a new life.

Britney will eventually be freed. She'll regain control of her life and her money, and hopefully will live happily ever after, never to be conserved again. But what about the other estimated 1.3 million Americans living under conservatorships in the US who don’t have a trending twitter handle and people with signs on sticks protesting outside the courthouse?

Britney Spears #freebritney
Britney Spears #freebritney

Most of those people are 80 or older, one of the fastest growing demographics. I wonder how often they have an objective person who sincerely advocates for them without the potential reward of personal payoff.

Hopefully we'll all make it to 80, but what happens if we are fortunate enough to live that long only to have someone decide that we aren't capable of making good decisions for our lives? How easy is it for someone to file a claim with a court that we need to be conserved? How easy is it for someone to take over our assets? Can they sell our house and car and put us in the old folks home with total disregard for our desire to live out our days in the comfort of our familiar surroundings?

I’m sorry for what’s happened to Ms. Spears. That shouldn’t happen to anyone. But it has already happened, and we can’t turn back time. I hope that when everything works out for her, that good also comes of this situation for the many people who are now, or who will be, conserved in the future.

Rhonda Sciortino, author of Succeed Because Of What You've Been Through (featured on The Today Show), used the coping skills from her abusive childhood to create personal and professional success. She built two successful businesses, then turned her attention to helping others to find their purpose and their authentic success. More info can be found at

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Apr 26

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