Britney Spears - Getty Images

Britney Spears - Getty Images

If it seems as though Britney Spears has attracted immense media attention for legal matters eclipsing her singing talent recently, it’s true. It has. Her legal difficulties have persisted for more than a decade and have made headlines like no debut song ever did.
But why?

The issue stems around Spears’ conservatorship imposed upon her by her father.

A recent New York Times documentary, “Framing Britney Spears,” recounts the details of an unfair take-over of her finances by Jamie Spears, her father in 2008. Still fully capable of making millions in album and ticket sales, but apparently not stable enough to manage her own affairs, Britney’s family has moved upon her freedoms using a conservatorship.[1]

To better understand what has happened to the popular songstress, we need to explain what a conservatorship is.


The purpose of a guardianship or conservatorship is to appoint a guardian by court order, for those unable to make their own decisions like a minor or aging adult incapacitated by dementia or some other mental illness.


Though mental illness is a reality and growing in awareness in our society, very few people ever actually need to be restricted from the freedom to control their own lives.[2]

Conservatorships usually last only one year and must be restarted and reappointed by a local government agency each year.
But not in Britney’s case.

Britney Spears & sons. Ex-husband Kevin Federline.

Britney Spears & sons. Ex-husband Kevin Federline.

At 26 years old, Spears’ father petitioned for far greater control over her life and affairs and won.

Pointing to Britney’s breakdown in 2007, after her divorce from Kevin Federline and her loss of child custody, plus her then refusal to surrender them to authorities in an armed stand-off, it appeared there was reason for significant intervention and external control. However, the protracted, ongoing involvement, even as Britney has returned to work making millions over the years since, and the growing army of interested parties against the now 39-year-old performer’s wishes to be in charge or her own affairs again, have resulted in an intense power struggle.

Britney’s conservatorship was split in two pieces, separating her as a person from her estate/finances. She has not had a say in her finances since 2008. Her father initially had control over both pieces, through co-conservatorship with attorney Andrew Wallet. Wallet resigned in early 2019 which gave Jamie Spears sole control until his ill-health later that year which led to the courts appointing a legal co-conservator. To date, the conservatorship continues, likely at an annual salary percentage rate for the conservators of 1-2% of the total assets under management. Britney Spears has a net worth of $59 million dollars.

This ongoing story of Spears conservatorship will be reviewed again September 2021 under California law. We sincerely echo the concern of this case’s possibly over-controlling conservator in her affairs and look forward to a restoration of her just and equitable majority soon.

Downtown New York, New York State

Downtown New York, New York State

In the state of New York, conservatorship laws allow for a conservator’s reasonable and necessary carriage of action under Article 81 by the guardian awarded power, such as:

-       Paying bills for an incapacitated ward,

-       Takin steps to prevent self-neglect,

-       Stopping financial and physical abuse,

-       Planning Medicaid & taxes,

-       Influencing the choice of guardian.[3]

To learn more about the duties & responsibilities or a guardian or who is eligible to be appointed under specific circumstances, give Gavenda Law offices a call to discuss. We look forward to helping make sense of the law for you and to serving you with knowledgeable and effective solutions no matter what you face. 

[1] Elizabeth Wagmeister, Britney Spears: Legal Expert Explains Why Pop Star’s Unprecedented Conservatorship Case Is ‘Highly Abnormal’, Variety (Apr. 07, 2021, 9:30 AM), PM), https://variety.com/2021/music/news/britney-spears-conservatorship-case-legal-questions-attorney-1234922934/

[2] Danielle & Andy Mayoras, Making Sense Of The Britney Spears Conservatorship And #FreeBritney, Forbes (May 15, 2019, 11:25 AM), PM), https://www.forbes.com/sites/trialandheirs/2019/05/15/making-sense-of-the-britney-spears-conservatorship-and-freebritney/?sh=55f017244b74

[3] Ira Salzman, Guardianship for Incapacitated People in New York Under Article 81, Seniorlaw.com (2020), https://www.seniorlaw.com/guardianship-for-incapacitated-people-in-new-york-under-article-81/

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