Tanya Hobson-Williams Comments on Britney Spears’ Release from Her 13-Year Conservatorship

Tanya Hobson-Williams at Hobson-Williams, P.C. says it was difficult for Britney Spears to be released from her 13-year Conservatorship, given the Court’s initial denial of her requests to hire her own attorneys.

However, on November 12, 2021, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge terminated the conservatorship. As a result, all of the pop singer’s assets — valued at $60 million — will be transferred from a temporary conservatorship to a trust in her name and she will no longer be required to undergo any medical or psychological evaluations.

During the conservatorship, Ms. Spears alleged that her father, Jamie Spears, who became her conservator in 2008, forced her to rehearse, sing and perform daily; forced her to use an intrauterine device; and wanted her to take various medications that she refused. Ms. Spears also stated that she was not permitted to choose her own legal counsel.

A court ruled on September 29, 2021 to suspend Mr. Spears as his daughter’s conservator. A temporary conservator for her estate was named and will stay on to oversee the transfer of the assets into her trust.

Ms. Hobson-Williams notes that, in New York State, Ms. Spears would have had more rights, such as the right to counsel and the right to be present at the hearing, citing Article 81 of New York State’s Mental Hygiene Law which is “designed to be tailored to meet the personal and financial needs of the individual in the least restrictive manner,” she says. “In New York, people do not lose all their rights in a Guardianship, unlike in California.”

In a California Conservatorship, there is a one-year review in which, one year after the Conservator’s appointment and two years thereafter, all assets, income and expenditures must be accounted for, filed with the court and reviewed by a probate examiner, Ms. Hobson-Williams says. In addition, an investigator personally interviews the individual in conservatorship periodically and determines if the conservator is acting in the individual’s best interests. However, little of that seemed to occur in Ms. Spears’ case.

“California’s conservatorship laws are not as progressive as New York’s,” Ms. Hobson-Williams says. “Although California law appears to contain safeguards to ensure the appointment of a conservatorship is appropriate and monitored, the system appears to have failed Ms. Spears. If she were permitted to hire her own attorney at the outset, her rights could have been better protected.”