Over the Spring and Summer of 2021 we wrote articles for our blog covering pop star Britney Spears’ attempt to remove her father from his role in her conservatorship. The very public court battle involving Spears, who was once arguably the most famous pop star in the world, serves as a good example of how difficult it can be to alter a conservatorship (or a power of attorney for personal care or finance) once one is in place.
The lead up to this week’s decision to remove Spears’ father as conservator
Over the last year, Britney Spears has been litigating the matter of her conservatorship in court. Following her much-publicized mental health struggles in the 1990s and early 2000s. Following those events, Britney’s father, Jamie Spears, was put in place as her conservator for both her personal wellbeing as well as her finances.
It was in 2020 that Spears began to fight to remove her father, telling the court that her father and his team were extremely controlling in all areas of her life, including prohibiting her from having children or getting married. Things in this area went so far that she said she was forced to take birth control against her wishes.”
Spears’ legal battles began after her father had experienced health problems and temporarily stepped down from his role as conservator before a co-conservator was appointed by the courts in 2020. That arrangement was intended to last until September 2021, which brings us to the events of this week.
Judge frees Britney Spears from father’s conservatorship
The New York Times reported this week that a judge said the situation between Spears and her father was “not tenable.” The judge’s decision came as a result of Spears and her lawyer petitioning the court to terminate her father’s conservatorship.
Spears’ lawyer told the court, “this man does not belong in her life, your honor, for another day,” adding “please hear the plea of my client.” Jamie Spears’ lawyer said his work as a conservator resulted in an “impeccable” record.
In an interesting twist, Jamie Spears’ lawyers argued that despite his “impeccable” record as conservator, his position should be terminated immediately (Jamie Spears had earlier filed to end the conservatorship). Meanwhile, lawyers for Britney Spears wanted his role suspended in order to open an investigation into his conduct. Lawyers from Jamie Spears said it was unnecessary to suspend his role because everyone agreed it should end. Britney Spears’ lawyers argued that Jamie’s position came about because he didn’t want to turn over financial and other records from his time as conservator.
Britney Spears calls the decision a loss
The judge’s decision to remove Jamie Spears said the decision was a loss for Spears, stating Spears wants the conservatorship to end completely instead of just removing her father, stating that the co-conservator who had been put in place in 2020 was a stranger who was now in total control of her finances.
If you have been appointed a trustee, executor, attorney for property, or attorney for personal care, contact Derfel Estate Law to speak with an estates lawyer. We regularly provide guidance to fiduciaries to ensure they are carrying out all of their obligations and making decisions that are in the best interests of testators or grantors, while minimizing the fiduciaries’ legal risks. Call us at 416-847-3580 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.