Britney Spears calls her conservatorship ‘voluntary’ in court filing
Despite rampant speculation and a viral campaign to release Britney Spears from her complicated conservatorship, the pop star told a court this week that the decades-long arrangement is voluntary.
The conservatorship — known in other states as a legal guardianship — has been in place since 2008 and dictates every move in the "...Baby One More Time” singer’s personal and professional life. But in a filing in Los Angeles Superior Court, the 38-year-old said that she wants to keep it in place and use her right to nominate a person or company to oversee her estate.
“This is a voluntary conservatorship. Conservatee wishes to exercise her right to nominate a conservator of the estate...,” her attorney, Samuel Ingham III, wrote in a Monday filing obtained by The Times.
The two-part conservatorship was meant to safeguard her person and her estate after her public unraveling in 2008. But its protracted nature has garnered interest and grown increasingly heated in the past year as the rampant, fan-fueled #FreeBritney movement has gained steam.
After more than a decade, why is Britney Spears still under a court-approved conservatorship, which leaves decisions involving her estate and everyday life to others?
Last month, the singer’s court-appointed attorney filed documents stating that Spears didn’t want her father James “Jamie” Spears to operate as the sole conservator of her person or estate.
In the Monday filing, she made good on that declaration and sought to put the financial management company, Bessemer Trust, in charge of her estate. The company would oversee Spears’ finances and control the power of attorney for her medical health decisions and musical career.
She also wants the trust to have “the power and authorization to pursue opportunities related to professional commitments and activities including but not limited to performing, recording, videos, tours, TV shows, and other similar activities as long as they are approved by the conservator of the person and the Conservatee’s medical team.”
Her attorney and attorneys for her mother Lynne Spears submitted probate court documents that checked a box stating that Spears is “substantially unable to manage his or her financial resources or to resist fraud or undue influence.” That’s also where her attorney noted that the conservatorship is voluntary.
Ingham checked another box stating that Spears does not have a developmental disability as defined by Probate Code and attached the Bessemer Trust nomination signed personally by Spears.
The move comes after Spears’ father filed documents to have former co-conservator Andrew M. Wallet return to the case after he resigned in 2019 — a move that did not align with the singer’s recently stated desires.
Spears this week again said that she is “strongly opposed” to her father continuing as the sole conservator of her estate and “strongly prefers” to have a qualified corporate fiduciary appointed to serve in that role.
A hearing on the matter, which Spears said she’ll attend, is scheduled for Nov. 10.
After Britney Spears moved to oust her father as her sole conservator, Jamie Spears agreed to bring back a co-conservator to manage her person and estate.
The declaration echoes that of an earlier filing in which she also stated that she wants to stop performing. In January 2019, she abruptly canceled her “Britney: Domination” residency in Las Vegas before it even began, then checked into a mental health facility after revealing her father was sick. She has not performed live since 2018.
“We are now at a point where the conservatorship must be changed substantially in order to reflect the major changes in her current lifestyle and her stated wishes,” Ingham wrote in last month’s documents.
Last month, Judge Brenda Penny also extended the temporary conservatorship of her person through Feb. 1, 2021, per Spears’ wishes.
Her younger sister Jamie Lynn Spears, 29, revealed last week that she is the trustee of the estate and asked that all the assets of her sister’s SJB Revocable Trust be moved into one or more accounts with Fidelity Brokerage Services with her as the custodian.
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