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Britney Spears’ conservatorship terminated

By | Published on Monday 15 November 2021

Britney Spears

The conservatorship that has controlled the personal and professional life of Britney Spears for more than thirteen years has been formally terminated. As a result, the musician is now back in control of her estate and business, and will no longer be required to pay a team of professionals and lawyers to manage her affairs.

LA judge Brenda Penny announced on Friday that: “The conservatorship of the person and of the estate of Britney Jean Spears is hereby terminated”. Penny added that the accountant who was appointed as an interim conservator of Britney’s estate in September – John Zabel – would continue to work in a limited role for a time handling some admin tasks and overseeing the transfer of assets.

Britney’s affairs became subject to the conservatorship in 2008 in the wake of her very public mental breakdown. For most of the following thirteen years, the conservatorship was very much controlled by the musician’s father Jamie Spears.

As the years went by, there were rumours that Britney herself was becoming frustrated with the conservatorship and her father’s control over her life, and those rumours resulted in the fan-led #FreeBritney campaign.

Things came to a head after Jamie temporarily stood down from his conservatorship role due to ill health. When he sought to return, legal efforts began to reduce his influence over his daughter’s affairs. A subsequent legal back and forth led to Britney’s headline grabbing testimony in court earlier this year in which she was scathing about the conservatorship in general and her father in particular.

In the wake of that testimony, various people involved in the conservatorship resigned, including her court-appointed attorney. Britney then hired her own legal counsel, Mathew Rosengart, who began calling for the immediate removal of Jamie from any involvement in his daughter’s affairs, and for the conservatorship to be terminated entirely.

Ultimately Jamie announced he also supported the termination of the conservatorship, although he hit back at allegations made by Rosengart that he had mismanaged his daughter’s finances, and argued there was no need to have him removed as Britney’s conservator of the estate in the short term. Nevertheless, he was replaced by Zabel at the end of September, even though by that point it looked like the entire conservatorship would soon be wound up.

Before last week’s ruling that formally brought the conservatorship to an end, Rosengart also told the court that a “safety net” had been put in place – by him and others involved in the conservatorship – to ensure a smooth transition as his client resumes control of her finances, career and personal life.

Sharing a video of her fans – and avid #FreeBritney campaigners – celebrating outside the courthouse as Friday’s ruling was confirmed, Britney wrote on Twitter: “Good God I love my fans so much it’s crazy! I think I’m gonna cry the rest of the day! Best day ever – praise the Lord – can I get an Amen? #FreedBritney”.

Also outside the courthouse was Rosengart, who told reporters: “What’s next for Britney is up to one person – and this is the first time we can say this in [more than] a decade. It’s up to Britney. Britney, as of today, is a free woman. I thank her for her courage and poise and power and for our relationship”.

As for whether litigation will now follow against Jamie Spears and others involved the conservatorship in relation to those allegations of mismanagement remains to be seen. Asked about that, Rosengart said that whether any lawsuit will be filed is “up to my client Britney”.