Who filed a petition to terminate Britney Spears's conservatorship? Not even her attorney knows.
Just ahead of the June 23 hearing, in which the pop star is expected to break her silence in the controversial case that spawned the #FreeBritney movement, a mystery document shows that a petition was filed to terminate Spears's conservatorship.
A deputy court clerk for the Superior Court of California County of Los Angeles denied the petition, filed by an unidentified party. The reason? A filing error. Whoever filed it failed pay the required $90 filing fee.
So, amid this wide-spread movement to #FreeBritney, who actually attempted to legally free her? To file a petition to terminate a conservatorship in California, the court document states you have to be: The conservator of the person or estate, the conservatee or an interested party.
To break that down: Spears, 39, is obviously the conservatee. Jodi Montgomery is the temporary conservator of Spears's person, and Jamie Spears and Bessemer Trust are co-conservators of her estate.
An "interested party" is a broader thing. Under California law, it can be a spouse, parent, sibling or a child. With Spears unmarried and her sons as minors, her mom Lynne, brother Bryan and sister Jamie Lynn are often listed as "interested parties" in court documents for the conservatorship, which was first put in place in 2008. Lynn has taken an even more active role over the last year, going head to head with her ex-husband.
However, an "interested party" could also include a "creditor, beneficiary and any other person having a property right in or claim against a trust estate or the estate of a decedent which may be affected by the proceeding." And "any person having priority for appointment as personal representative." An interested party could also be "fiduciary representing an interested person."
The probate code notes, "The meaning of 'interested person' as it relates to particular persons may vary from time to time and shall be determined according to the particular purposes of, and matter involved in, any proceeding." Pretty vague, right?
Yahoo Entertainment reached out to Spears's court appointed attorney, Samuel D. Ingham III, who tells us, "I don’t know anything about this filing." So that suggests it's not coming from Spears herself and, presumably, if it it was a major player, Ingham would know about it.
In April, Ingham told Judge Brenda Penny that Spears wants to address the court about the "status of the conservatorship" — for the first time since she tried to remove her father as co-conservator of her estate last fall — and that will take place June 23 at 1:30 p.m. PT.
Spears's father, from whom she is estranged, has said through his attorney that the star can end her conservatorship at any time, noting she's "always had this right" but has "never exercised it."
While conservatorships are typically put in place for incapacitated individuals, Spears has been called a “high-functioning conservatee,"by her attorney with the star earning $138 million between 2013 and 2017 for her Las Vegas residency. That is behind the #FreeBritney movement, a push led by her fans to give her back her freedom as the conservatorship limits all aspects of her life — from how she spends her money to who she can allow in her house or where she can vacation.
In court last year, Ingham noted Spears is in a "voluntary" conservatorship, seeming to suggest she is OK having a conservator, but wants a voice in who it is. Though the mystery termination filing sure does raise eyebrows — and make anticipation grow for the June 23 hearing.
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