New Court Ruling in the Estate of Britney Spears
In one of the most talked-about estate planning cases in decades, Britney Spears’s estate plans have been the subject of tremendous debate and controversy.
February of 2021 has proven to be a big step forward in this estate situation, as a judge has upheld a prior ruling which makes a financial company co-conservator of the Spears estate. Bessemer Trust will now share financial management power equally with Spears’s father.
How did this situation get so complicated?
It began in 2008. Britney Spears was the mother of two young children, and her ex-husband, Kevin Federline, was attempting to gain full custody of the kids. Given her alleged mental health issues, Britney Spears consented to have her finances handled in “conservatorship.” This means that another party, often a relative or a financial services company, is named to manage one’s finances.
Even at the time of the original order, she requested that her biological father – who had been absent for much of her children – not be named the conservator.
However, the court did choose to name the estate’s conservator to be that father, Jamie Spears. In the thirteen years since, the relationship has been tumultuous.
By many accounts, Britney Spears has become healthier, and more able to manage her own finances. A 2020 documentary by The New York Times explains the situation, and the producers interviewed estate planning attorneys on both sides of the dispute.
Jamie Spears has fought in court to remain sole conservator. In this position, he has become a de facto co-manager for Spears’s career. His attorneys suggested that his conservatorship is more of a “hybrid business model,” a phrase which sparked a great deal of protest and objection among Spears’s engaged fan base.