Britney Spears says her controversial conservatorship is ‘voluntary’

Singer wants to keep legal guardianship in place and choose who oversees her estate

Ellie Harrison
Thursday 03 September 2020 08:46
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As the public backlash against Britney Spears’s controversial conservatorship continues to rage online, the singer has said the legal guardianship is, in fact, “voluntary”.

Conservatorship is when a guardian or protector is appointed by a court to manage the life of someone due to physical or mental limitations. Spears’ conservatorship was put in place in 2008 after she suffered a public breakdown in 2007. It has been overseen by her father, Jamie, for 12 years, giving him control over much of her personal life, career and estate.

In a filing in Los Angeles Superior Court this week, the 38-year-old said she wants to keep the conservatorship in place and 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 the document.

Last month, the singer’s lawyer filed documents stating that she “strongly opposed” having her father as her conservator.

Britney’s parents Jamie and Lynne Spears in 2012

Spears now seeks to put the financial management company, Bessemer Trust, in charge of her estate. This means it would control her finances and hold the power of attorney for her medical health decisions and music career.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Spears’s attorney and attorneys for her mother Lynne submitted court documents that checked a box stating the singer is “substantially unable to manage his or her financial resources or to resist fraud or undue influence”.

A court hearing is scheduled for 10 November.

Last week, Spears’s younger sister Jamie Lynn revealed that she was made a trustee of the artist’s estate two years ago and is now attempting to gain more control over her assets, requesting they be relocated into new accounts with Fidelity Brokerage Services, of which she is a custodian.

Reacting to the news, Cher said Spears’s family were turning her into a “cash cow” and said that “someone who doesn’t want anything from her should look into her doctor and medication”.

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Spears’s conservatorship has been the subject of widespread online protests this year. The #FreeBritney movement was launched by fans who believe Spears is “trapped”, and one petition, with more than 100,000 signatures lobbying for Spears’ freedom, claims: “Her father doesn’t allow her to drive, all of her calls & messages are monitored, she’s not allowed to vote, hang with anyone or spend her money without permission. And if she breaks a ‘rule’ he threatens to have her kids taken away.”

Last month, Jamie called the #FreeBritney campaign “a joke” and said he is tired of rumours that she is being exploited.