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Ingham told the court afterward that Spears' medical condition is "fluid" because her treatment is changing.

Spears' probate case is scheduled to go to trial July 31, but Ingham said it could be "harmful" for her to participate. Goetz agreed and said Spears' diagnosis is not complete.

The 26-year-old singer and her estate have been under the conservatorship of her father for four months

What does this mean? He father is the temporary owner of her fortune? Does estate here mean Spears' house?

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Music/05/30/britney.spears.ap/index.html

Thanks!
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Comments  
Hi

I think he's responsible for the protection of her properties, rather than a "temporary owner."
Not sure it's the same in the USA, but in my country when one is judged to be incompetent* (by a court) and unable to look after his/her possessions, someone else is appointed (by the same court) to protect his/her interests. This person is usually a relative; sometimes, it can be a lawyer.
Anyway, those properties would still be owned by the "incompetent". I mean, the conservator would not be allowed, say, to sell some of the properties he should protect and keep the money for himself.

As for estate, it can be more than just her house.
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* Examples of "incompetents" in my country: underage heirs, mentally ill people.
Could you give an example? I mean under what circumstances a person is deemed to be incapable of protecting his/her own interests? Disability?
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Hi,

As I said earlier, underage heirs and mentally ill people would be the most common "incompetents" in my country. Physical disabilities are not an issue.

A 5-year-old orphan cannot protect his properties (let alone his life) without an adult, can he, especially if he's just inherited a huge fortune. Just imagine how many people would try to take advantage of him. Emotion: sad
I'm sorry for missing out your footnote. Thanks, Tanit.

By the way, I've always thought (the subject after let alone is usually less serious than before)

That uneducated can't even read, let alone pass the exam.

He can't even afford to pay for his food, let alone an apartment.

A 5-year old orphan cannot protect his properties (let alone his life) ---( So, I would say, "can't protect himself/his life let alone his property)
That's an interesting point, and I must admit I've always used "let alone" intuitively (that's probably because we have a very similar expression in my language), so I'm not aware of any rule about it.

As for your two examples, I agree with you:

That uneducated can't even read, let alone pass the exam. >> I agree: to pass an exam is more difficult than to read. One could read and yet not pass an exam

He can't even afford to pay for his food, let alone an apartment.>> I agree: more money is needed to buy an apartment. One could buy his food but might not have enough money to buy a flat.
I guess I need a native's explanation about my sentence. I cannot explain why, but I feel it should be "cannot protect his properties, let alone his life" ... but I might be wrong!!! Do you think we'll get an answer here, or maybe we'd better open another thread?
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You might want to create a new thread just to be sure you get an answer. Or you can wait for a while before doing that. Emotion: smile
Hi N2G,

I've been thinking about this for a while now. Emotion: smile
New2grammarBy the way, I've always thought (the subject after let alone is usually less serious than before)
My idea is that it should work the other way around. It seems to work with all the three examples we've got in this thread:
Tanit1. That uneducated can't even read, let alone pass the exam. >> ... to pass an exam is more difficult than to read...

2. He can't even afford to pay for his food, let alone an apartment.>> ... more money is needed to buy an apartment...
3. A 5-year old orphan cannot protect his properties, let alone his life. >> To protect somebody's own life is more difficult / requires more strength than to protect sb's possessions.

Anyway, I am still wondering whether this (=> greater/more important/difficult etc. thing after "let alone") is really a general rule. I will do some research and will be back if I find something. Meanwhile, if some members have something to say about this, I'll be very happy to learn more. Emotion: smile
Actually we're in agreement. Maybe my wording is confusing to you.

I used the word 'serious', not 'difficult'. It's funny that they would reverse the relationship.

1. That uneducated can't even read, let alone pass the exam. >> ... to pass an exam is more difficult than to read...

Which one is more serious? I would say "read". That uneducated guy can't even read! Comparing literacy to passing an exam, it's certain that literacy is a more serious issue. In other words, a SIMPLE skill like reading is already troubling the guy, not to mention passing an exam, which requires reading ability.

To pass and exam is more difficult than to read. In other words, Passing an exam is a less serious issue than literacy.
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