The family of Britney Spears have been given increased control over her financial affairs after a hearing on Thursday.

Her father, James Spears, was given temporary conservatorship of his daughter's well-being and fortune on February 1st - in conjunction with attorney Andrew Wallet - and this order has now been extended until March 10th.

The Toxic star's brother Bryan, 30, has also been granted influence over her day-to-day expenses.

Britney had set up a trust in 2004, of which she was the sole trustee, meaning that her family members, friends and staff have been unable to access her liquid assets to pay for food and sundries since her hospitalisation last month.

Los Angeles superior court commissioner Reva Goetz named Bryan Spears and a law firm as temporary co-trustees yesterday, saying that: "Immediate access to the trust's liquid assets is necessary to pay for Britney's security, and to pay for her medicine, food, other day-to-day expenses, and for psychiatric and other essential medical services."

Goetz also granted James Spears and Wallet the power to handle the singer's taxes.

According to the Associated Press news agency, the court heard that attorneys have been unable to serve the restraining order issued against Britney's manager and confidante Sam Lufti.

Jerry Cohen, representing James Spears, told the court his staff has spent more than 200 hours trying to locate Lufti, who has been accused by Britney's mother Lynne of drugging and verbally abusing the singer.

"We have made great effort to have Mr Lutfi served," he added.

"We staked out his residence at the hospital. We did many things we do not want to discuss right now. We have information he is intentionally avoiding service."

15/02/2008 09:19:51