Culture

Judge rules Britney Spears is a ‘free independent woman’ in key post-conservatorship hearing

Maggie Baska December 9, 2021
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Britney Spears

Britney Spears. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Britney Spears has been granted the power to execute documents and take back control over her estate planning in a fresh hearing.

The pop star was liberated from her 13-year conservatorship on 12 November, sparking joyous reactions from fans worldwide.

Though Spears was freed from the legal arrangement immediately, John Zabel, a certified public accountant who had acted as her temporary conservator, retained power of execution over her estate.

At a hearing on Wednesday (8 December), judge Brenda Penny ruled that Spears can now execute her estate documents, granting her power the ability to sign her estate paperwork and manage her finances.

Spears’ attorney Mathew Rosengart told the judge that his client is an “independent woman, not under the conservatorship” and should be able to execute documents herself, Variety reported.

According to Rolling Stone, the interim order was needed Zabel’s lawyer alleged in court filings that the pop star’s father, Jamie Spears, had “planted a term” in her prior estate-planning documents that kept her “unnecessarily tethered to the court”. As such, the pop star would have needed a judge’s approval for any changes to her estate planning.

Penny ruled that Spears would have the “ability to go ahead and execute documents” as well as granting a motion sealing paperwork related to her new estate plan.

Britney Spears performs during Now! 99.7 Triple Ho Show 7.0 at SAP Center on December 3, 2016 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Variety reported that Zabel will continue with “limited administrative powers” over Spears’ estate, primarily to wrap up financial issues, until the next hearing which is on 19 January.

After the hearing, Rosengart described the “Toxic” singer as a “free, independent woman” who now has the “capacity to do whatever she wants” when it comes to planning her estate.

Rosengart added that Spears’ father failed to cooperate with requests for specific documents that his firm believed will “shed light in regard to his abuses and the alleged conduct”. He added that his firm will take steps to depose him should Jamie Spears continue to be uncooperative.

“We served papers for his deposition,” Rosengart said. “He did not appear for his disposition the first time; he did not appear for his deposition a second time, so he has not yet been deposed.”

He continued: “But he will be deposed in this case. I look forward to taking his deposition.”

The lawyer claimed after the 12 November hearing, which ended the conservatorship, that the legal arrangement was “corrupted by James P Spears” and cited records that reportedly showed the singer’s father had taken up to $4 million from Spears’ estate.

In June, Britney Spears gave explosive testimony in court about the “abusive” legal arrangement that had controlled much of her life since 2008.

The “Gimme More” hitmaker also spoke out for the first time about horrific details of the conservatorship claiming that she was forced to take lithium and have an IUD contraceptive device inserted.

She also alleged she was told that she “wouldn’t be able to see my kids or my boyfriend” if she refused to carry on working “from eight to six at night, which is 10 hours a day, seven days a week, no days off”.

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