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Do Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen Need Conservatorships?

It seems that conservatorships may become a new trend to help wild and out-of-control celebrities in Hollywood.

It sure helped Britney Spears.  After her escapades of a hairless head, posing for the paparazzi with no panties, and excessive partying and drinking, her father, James Spears, filed for conservatorship.  This allowed him to become her legal decision-maker and help turn her life and career around.Lindsay-lohan-mugshot

Then came talk of a conservatorship for Lindsay Lohan.  She's had multiple DUI arrests and been sentenced to jail time and rehab, more than once.  Most recently, she's facing a possible felony sentence for allegedly lifting a diamond necklace from a jewelry store.

A few months ago, Lindsay bristled at the reports that her father was attempting to file for conservatorship over her.  Michael Lohan did not end up filing the court case, but with this latest criminal trouble, can another attempt be far off?

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Did Brittany Murphy forget to update her will?

Everyone was shocked when actress Brittany Murphy died suddenly at age 32 on December 20th, 2009.  She left behind a husband, Simon Monjack, of two and a half years and a mother with whom she was very close.  Reportedly, her mother lived with Murphy and her husband the last few years.Brittany_Murphy

Only one day after her tragic passing, celebrity gossip website TMZ posted an article saying that Murphy had a will, but one that was created before her marriage.  The report stated the will left everything to her mother and nothing to her husband.

It also stated Brittany's house was held in a trust which also left it to her mother, not her husband.  Another website said the house -- which Murphy had purchased from Britney Spears in 2003 for almost four million dollars -- was held in a trust called the "Nina Bow Trust".

At this point, it's too early to tell if the reports are accurate.  Wills are public records and are available to the media and websites alike, but only once they are filed.  That doesn't happen one day after someone passes away.

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Celebrity Money Battles article

The chief editor of and I collaborated on an article discussing some of the latest celebrity estate and probate-related feuds.  The article includes:Britney Spears 2

The battles in the Britney Spears Conservatorship case, highlighted by the attorney who compared Britney's situation to a Soviet forced labor camp, before a restraining order was entered against him for three years.

Whitney Houston 2The Whitney Houston life insurance court case, through which Whitney lashed back at her step-mother (who sued Whitney) by detailing how the "custodial care services worker" met Whitney's father cleaning his house and then moved in with him despite their 40-year age difference and the fact Whitney's father was married at the time.

The Marlon Brando Estate, which has been involved in 26 different lawsuitsCeleb-marlon-brando_275-x-2481, including claims of sexual harassment, fraud, forgery, undue influence and abuse -- not to mention bringing to light Brando's paranoia that was so severe at the end of his life, he wanted his bedroom padlocked when he died so no one would steal the buttons off his shirt.

Anna Nicole SmithAnd the Grandaddy of all estate battles  -- Anna Nicole Smith -- who fought the son of her late 90-year old husband over his fortune worth hundreds of millions, up to the United States Supreme Court, only to have her own estate embroiled in litigation when she died.

You can read the complete Celebrity Money Battles article here.

Newsplink is a cool new website featuring unique news stories submitted by amateur and professional journalists alike. 

Posted by:  Author and probate attorney Andrew W. Mayoras, co-author of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights! and co-founder and shareholder of The Center for Probate Litigation and The Center for Elder Law in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law.  You can email him at awmayoras @

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Former Lawyer of Britney Spears Officially Restrained

The Britney Spears Conservatorship legal battle has taken some interesting twists and turns.  I discussed some of them in my prior post about the case, including the attorney who claimed he had been hired by Spears to fight her father in court.  This lawyer, Jon Eardley, told the court that Britney's father, Jamie Spears, was wrongly controlling her and that she should have her legal rights to make her own financial decisions returned to her.  Britney Spears

Not only did Eardley lose, but Jamie Spears sought the extraordinary step of a restraining order against the attorney, seeking to protect Britney from him for years.  Yesterday, this request was granted.  A California judge issued an order preventing Eardley from trying to take any action on her behalf, including filing legal pleadings for her.  He was also ordered to stay at least 100 yards away from her and her kids, and refrain from all contact.  Eonline obtained a copy of the restraining order, which you can read here.

Eardley had tried -- unsuccessfully -- to force Britney to appear at the court hearing to help him defend against the restraining order request.  He argued that if she was well enough go on tour, she could appear in court and support his claim that she voluntarily hired him. 

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Britney Spears Conservatorship Case

Many people assume that probate and estate planning issues are only for the elderly.  They think that it's nothing to spend time worrying about until they're at least 80.  Seasoned probate litigation attorneys know better.  Every family has to address these important legal issues sooner or later; sometimes much sooner than they think.  And when proper planning isn't done, it can often lead to trouble.

The Britney Spears case presents a good illustration.  At the tender age of 26, she became subject to a court-ordered conservatorship and guardianship.  Her father, Jamie Spears, has the legal right to make decisions for her, including controlling her finances (which are extensive).  The judge allows him to pay himself more than $16,000 every month, from his daughter's money.  Given the remarkable turnaround in her life and her career, this fee may be well worth it.Britney Spears

In fact, Britney now seems to be in favor of her father's control.  In October of 2008, she agreed not to oppose her father's request to continue the conservatorship indefinitely (it was originally set to expire at the end of 2008).  Think this means the court case is done?  Not so fast.

Last week, an attorney named Jon Eardley, returned the case to court.  Eardley, just over one year ago, claimed that Britney had asked him by telephone to represent her to fight the conservatorship.  He even took the highly unusual step of trying to move the case to Federal Court, arguing she was denied a fair trial in the California Superior Court where the case was pending. 

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