On November 12, most of the participants in Britney Spears’s conservatorship hearing will appear virtually to discuss the state of, and likely the end of, her grueling 13-year conservatorship. Expected in person are Spears’s attorney Mathew Rosengart, Judge Brenda Penny, and members of the media and public. When audio leaked after Spears’s June hearing, Judge Penny put stringent security measures in place. This time, the hearing’s audio will not be transmitted over the court’s remote-access system, and members of the media and the public will not be allowed to take their phones into the courtroom or transmit anything electronically from it. While we wait to hear what happens, Vulture set out to learn what could be next for the pop icon.
Tamar Arminak, an expert probate lawyer with extensive experience in conservatorships who represented Amanda Bynes’s parents in obtaining a conservatorship over their daughter, answers all our “what if” and “what next” questions.
Spears has said she doesn’t want to undergo an evaluation for the conservatorship to end. Is the judge likely to grant her wishes?
“The secondary evaluation or another evaluation would be commonplace if, for example, her conservator was objecting to her being off the conservatorship,” said Arminak. “We know Jodi Montgomery supports her position, and we know Britney’s father actually supports it as well, not that it matters what he says. It looks like everybody is in agreement that they support her being off it immediately.” Since the request for termination was not contested, Arminak believes there will be no need for a secondary evaluation.
Will the conservatorship end on Friday?
“I think the conservatorship of the person will end at this hearing,” said Arminak. If there are outstanding issues that need to be handled first — such as a fleshed-out transfer plan — the judge may set a date in the near future for it to end.
How will Spears’s life change if/when the conservatorship is terminated?
She will be fully in charge of her day-to-day life. She can go where she wants. She doesn’t have to get approval to, say, go to Hawaii, and she will be 100 percent in charge of all her medical and personal decisions.
“She has obviously been treated as a minor in the eyes of the law and would be restored legally to being an independent adult,” explained Arminak.
Will she be free to speak out?
“The muzzle will be gone,” said Arminak. “I imagine we’re going to hear from her a lot more frequently.”
What else might immediately change for her?
“She would be free to demand records, documents, and information regarding the past 13 years of her conservatorship,” said Arminak. “When she was the conservatee, that would have been a little bit more difficult for her. We’re seeing a little bit of this now with her attorney subpoenaing documents and trying to send over deposition subpoenas and that kind of stuff.”
What will the termination mean for people like Jodi Montgomery, who is currently the temporary conservator over Spears’s person?
“Jodi Montgomery gets transitioned from a court-authorized person to basically an employee that Britney could terminate or get rid of,” said Arminak.
Montgomery could continue to help her and assist her in transitioning. But that’s going to be up to Spears, and “she can change her mind in an instant,” said Arminak.
But she will still have a conservatorship over her estate, right? How will that work?
“There’s so much money that I don’t think anyone is interested in giving her a $60 million check to go deposit,” said Arminak. “But certainly if Britney, for example, called and said I need a million dollars for whatever she wanted,” she would get it.
“Eventually, they would just be the firm that’s managing her money, and she would be the client. She would be the one calling the shots. I don’t think it would be a situation where her money isn’t going to be handed to her. At the end of the day, she will be in charge of her own finances in terms of what she wants, when she wants to have it, and when she wants to spend it,” Arminak explained.
What about spending time with her sons?
“In the past, that was done through the conservator,” said Arminak. “And there were issues — obviously Jamie with that restraining order. But now there is no barrier. There’s no buffer person. There’s no conservator to deal with. She’s the one that’s going to be making those decisions about how often she wants to see the kids, if she wants more custody, all of those things.”
Spears posted on Instagram that Donatella Versace is designing her new wedding dress. If the conservatorship over her person were lifted, she would be free to make the decision herself to legally get married.
Yes, when she’s ready to marry, she is free to.