Britney Spears' Conservatorship Terminated: An Expert Explains What This Means for the Star — and What's Next

After Britney Spears' 13-year long conservatorship was terminated on Friday, an expert tells PEOPLE the star now has "a second chance at happiness"

Britney Spears saw a huge victory in court on Friday afternoon when an L.A. judge ruled to terminate her 13-year long conservatorship.

"The court finds and determines that the conservatorship of the person and the estate is no longer required," said Judge Brenda Penny. "Therefore, effective today, the conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears … is hereby terminated."

While Britney's conservatorship of the estate and of the person have been terminated, temporary conservator John Zabel will have "administrative powers" in Britney's trust and estate. Meanwhile, her personal conservator Jodi Montgomery will "be there for anything she needs," according to Montgomery's attorney Lauriann Wright.

In response to the news, Britney, 39, 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."

Now, family law attorney David Glass shares with PEOPLE what Judge Penny's monumental decision means for the star. (The next hearing set for Dec. 8 was canceled and will instead take place on Jan. 19 at 1:30 local time.)

Britney Spears
Britney Spears. Ethan Miller/Getty

With the conservatorship of her person now terminated, who will be in charge of Britney's physical and mental health?

Glass: Jodi Montgomery this week filed — under seal so no one had access to it other than the court — a transition treatment plan for Britney explaining what Jodi thought was needed in terms of medical treatment, psychological treatment and possibly even medication. It's going to be up to Britney herself because the entire conservatorship both over her estate and her person was terminated effective today.

The most interesting thing — I don't know if everyone caught it — is that the judge said that this started out as a voluntary conservatorship, and the judge noted that there was never a declaration of Britney's incapacity. There was never a report by a psychologist or psychiatrist that she lacked capacity, so that's why the court felt it did not need evidence to the contrary that she'd regained her capacity. The court explained the only question it was left with was, "Is the conservatorship still needed?"

Because Britney's attorneys, Jamie's attorneys, her mother [Lynne Spears] and all the attorneys and parties agreed that it was no longer needed, the court found no reason to not terminate. And there were two small technical issues, they have to change some estate documents and they have to move some assets into a trust, but they expect that's going to happen within a week.

How unusual is it that her conservatorship was terminated without a mental health evaluation?

Glass: The probate code does not require you to have a mental health evaluation to get out of a conservatorship, but they are beyond routine. Ninety percent of the cases require them to get out, but this is what the judge hung her decision on. Since there was never a psychological report to get into the conservatorship, there didn't need to be one to get out of it.

Given what was laid out, it all makes sense. The court and the parties were under enormous pressure from the public and from Britney's team to make this thing end. I think everyone was looking for an easy way out, because everyone agreed it was time to finally terminate it. Whether that was done one, two or 10 years too late remains up for speculation, but it's not going to be ruled on by the court. The court merely ruled it's time for this thing to be done, today.

Did it seem to you that everyone there agreed it was right to terminate the conservatorship?

Glass: Yes. Once Jamie Spears was removed as a conservator about a month ago, that made it easier for everyone to get along. He was the only party who was holding this thing up, and once he got in line it looked like everyone else jumped in line. My question was only, "What did Jodi Montgomery think?" She never filed a report as to what she thought, the only thing she filed this week at the last minute was a transitional treatment plan, which I doubt anyone will ever get any access to other than Britney and whatever team she gets.

RELATED VIDEO: Britney Spears' Attorney Makes Statement On Father Jamie Spears' Suspension From Conservatorship

What do you expect to happen moving forward?

Glass: With most mental health issues, they are relatively easily controlled by a combination of therapy and medication. It's much easier to control mental health symptoms than it is addiction issues, which have a horrible relapse rate. Most people who go through some sort of mental health treatment maintain those gains. Britney essentially has a second chance at happiness now. She has a chance to run her own life, to prove to herself and her family and the public that she can make good choices in terms of her money, how she wants to live and with her mental and physical health and care. I suppose we all hope she will take advantage of that second chance and maximize it.

How might this affect conservatorship law here in California or elsewhere?

Glass: I honestly don't see it having much effect, if any, on conservatorship law. Again, 95 percent of conservatorship cases are for Alzheimer's or dementia. It's a completely different case. And then most mental health conservatorships resolve themselves within a year. This is really the outlier, an unusual sort of case that didn't make sense from either side. I don't know that it has a lot of implications for other cases.

Updated by Kara Warner
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