Britney Spears Calls Conservatorship 'Voluntary' as She Files for Case to Be Open to the Public
Britney Spears is seeking a conservatorship, on her own terms.
The pop star, 38, and her court-appointed attorney Samuel D. Ingham III filed court papers on Monday in Los Angeles, asking for several changes to her conservatorship, which was extended to February 2021 after a filing in which she said she's "strongly opposed" to having her father Jamie as her sole conservator. (Jamie, 68, stepped down from the role last year after more than a decade.)
The court documents, which were obtained by PEOPLE, state that the singer wants a "voluntary" conservatorship, which means she "wishes to exercise her right to nominate a conservator of the estate" and is "substantially unable to manage her financial resources."
In the filing, Spears suggested Bessemer Trust Company of California, N.A., to be her conservator. If granted as in her best interest, the wealth management and investment advisory firm would be in charge of Spears' finances and control the power of attorney for her medical health decisions and career.
"Britney is strongly opposed to her father continuing as sole conservator of her estate. Rather, without in any way waiving her right to seek termination of this conservatorship in the future, she strongly prefers to have a qualified corporate fiduciary appointed to serve in this role," the papers state.
Spears also said she 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 [her] medical team."
In separate documents, also obtained by PEOPLE, the star's mother, Lynne Spears, supported the nomination of Bessemer Trust Company to serve as the conservator over her daughter's estate.
Elsewhere in the documents, Spears and her legal team make it clear that she does not have a developmental disability and is currently not a "patient in or on leave of absence from a state institution under the jurisdiction of the California Department of State Hospitals or the California Department of Developmental Services."
Spears' conservatorship was first placed in 2008 with her father being named the permanent conservator of her affairs and attorney Andrew Wallet the permanent co-conservator of her estate. After Jamie stepped down due to health reasons in September 2019, Jodi Montgomery was named temporary conservator.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, attorney Ingham filed new court documents, asking the judge to deny Jamie's motions to seal parts of the ongoing conservatorship case. Instead of making proceedings private, Britney and her legal team want to make the case "transparent" with her fans.
"Britney strongly believes it is consistent not only with her personal best interests but also with good public policy generally that the decision to appoint a new conservator of her estate be made in as open and transparent a manner as possible," Ingham's opposition filing says. Jamie's motion "is supposedly being brought by her father to 'protect' Britney's interests, but she is adamantly opposed to it."
Furthermore, Ingham says Britney is requesting the conservatorship case be made public as confidential financial information is "already protected" and "there are no medical issues at all in a conservatorship of the estate, nor are her children [sons Jayden, 13, and Preston, 14] involved in any way."
The filing on Wednesday also cites Jamie's recent New York Post interview, in which he said: "It's up to the Court of California to decide what's best for my daughter. It's no one else's business." In response, Ingham objected to Jamie's public comment regarding the conservatorship case despite his motions to keep it private.
"At this point in her life when she is trying to regain some measure of personal autonomy, Britney welcomes and appreciates the informed support of her many fans," the filing states. "Britney herself is vehemently opposed to this effort by her father to keep her legal struggle hidden away in the closet as a family secret."
In conclusion, Ingham said, "The moment that James obtained from this Court the power to handle Britney's affairs on her behalf, he surrendered a large measure of privacy as to the manner in which he exercises that power. Transparency is an essential component in order for this Court to earn and retain the public's confidence with respect to protective proceedings like this one. In this case, it is not an exaggeration to say that the whole world is watching."
A hearing for Spears' voluntary conservatorship request is scheduled for Nov. 10.